THE NEW YORK TIMES | April 17, 2018 | Ben Kenigsberg
The good news for anyone who finds the Tribeca Film Festival daunting is that the event, which starts Wednesday, is about the same size as last year’s slimmed-down edition — not that that’s terribly slim. At 101 new features, the program is smaller than Sundance’s was in January but larger than the typical official selection at Cannes, which takes place in May.
Without the auteurs or marquee titles of those festivals, Tribeca can leave the average moviegoer lost for guidance. Plot summaries aren’t much use, given that the festival often appears to have two films for every premise. (Interested in a satire about buffoons who try to market an absurd product in China? You have options.)
The only way to find good movies at Tribeca is to watch them. That task requires long hours, an unflagging optimism that the next film might be a masterpiece and, mostly, a colossal stubborn streak. I’ve seen 40 new fiction features and documentaries and sampled about two dozen more. Here, in honor of the festival’s 17th year, are 17 titles I enjoyed.
O.G. Jeffrey Wright gives a rich, imposing performance as the former “mayor” of Pendleton Correctional Facility, an Indiana prison he is about to leave after 24 years of incarceration. The director, Madeleine Sackler, who filmed with real prisoners in her cast, actually has two features at the festival. The second, the documentary “prequel” “It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It?” was also made with Pendleton inmates and grew out of the research for “O.G.”