TIFF ’10: Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington in “Last Night”

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: We continue to preview anticipated titles screening at the 35th Toronto International Film Festival in our “Road to Toronto” feature.

The fest kicks off on Sept. 9, and HollywoodNews.com will be on the ground bringing you reviews, interviews, and a clearer glimpse at the ever-shifting Oscar race.

To read our previous preview columns, punch “TIFF” into our search window. Today, Toronto’s Closing Night film may come from a first-time director, but it’s got star power to spare.

Last Night

The Plot: A married man (Sam Worthington) takes an overnight business trip with a female colleague (Eva Mendes), to whom he is attracted. Meanwhile, back at home, the executive’s beautiful wife (Keira Knightley) encounters her own, former lover (Guillaume Canet).

The Director: Massy Tadjedin

The Cast: Keira Knightley, Eva Mendes, Sam Worthington, Guillaume Canet

The Scoop: Does Toronto intend to close its 35th annual film festival on a high note? That’s a question only Tadjedin can answer, as TIFF tapped her directorial debut as its closing night gala screening. The film clearly is earning some high-powered fans, however, as it also was selected to open this year’s Rome Film Festival on Oct. 5. Given the prestige of this cast, we’re beginning to anticipate great things. But if “Last Night” doesn’t grab us, at least everyone involved has something else at TIFF to support. Knightley will appear in “Never Let Me Go.” Worthington has “The Debt” with Helen Mirren. And Canet will be at the fest promoting his own directorial effort “Little White Lies,” a follow up to the taut, terrific “Tell No One.”

Awards Potential: While not on any pre-festival Oscar lists, “Last Night” could generate some chatter with strong screenings in Toronto and Rome. Everyone in the cast could be a contender if the performances are good enough, while Tadjedin’s script might net her a nomination if “Last Night” is something worth discussing.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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