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TIFF 2019 Review: The Twentieth Century – “Monty Python meets Guy Madden”

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William Lyon Mackenzie King seeks to become the prime minister of Canada and encounters a number of humiliations in the process of achieving his ambition.

While one of his regular visits to a sickly child in hospital, William Lyon Mackenzie King encounters real-life embodiment of a vision his mother had in regards as to whom he was going to marry; she also happens to be the daughter of the governor-general which complicates his aspirations for becoming the prime minister of Canada.   What follows is a series of misadventures and humiliations as King is hindered by his arrogance and vices in obtaining the office of power that he so desires.

Accurately described as Monty Python meets Guy Madden, The Twentieth Century makes use of film techniques from the silent age, rudimentary animation, and patchwork set dressings and props to create a surreal and absurd story.  Filmmaker Matthew Rankin wears the low budget approach like a badge of honour and fully embraces the surreal satirical approach; he has the complete commitment of the cast when it comes to depicting all of the zaniness.  One has to admire Rankin for developing a unique style but it wears rather thin over a feature-length runtime.

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Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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