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TIFF 2023 Review: Knox Goes Away

A hitman discovers that he has a rapid form of dementia and has to settle his affairs before completely losing his memory.

After visiting a doctor John Knox learns that he has a very limited time before he succumbs to his rapidly progressing dementia. The condition complicates matters as the normally efficient hired killer accidentally shoots to death a colleague while doing an assignment.  To make things worse, his estranged son turns to him for help after killing the Internet predator responsible for raping Knox’s granddaughter.

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This is not a showy performance for Michael Keaton, who doubles as the director, because the whole point was to convey the quiet inner struggle that John Knox is going through; it is a fine balance as he has to be resigned to his fate but at the same time determined to do what is needed before becoming mentally incapacitated. Playing small roles that add notes of gravitas are Al Pacino and Marcia Gay Harden.  Thankfully, the police are not portrayed as being dimwitted; however, the brief shots of their personal lives are unnecessary.

To convey the temporary and more frequently occurring memory lapses, the picture editing incorporates double exposures and skipped frames while the sound is designed to be abstract.  This is not distracting as it simply becomes part of the visual and audio language.  There are a couple of interesting plot twists and a rare thing depicted – honour among thieves.  But in the end, the story is conventional which causes Keaton to miss the target when it comes to the intended emotional wallop of the concluding shot.


The 48th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 7-17, 2023, and for more information visit    

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

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One Comment

  1. Movie is terrible.

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