#TIFF2023 Reviews: The Pigeon Tunnel, Limbo

The Pigeon Tunnel |  Written and Directed by Errol Morris

“Evasion and deception were the necessary weapons of my childhood,” wrote David Cornwell aka John le Carré in his autobiography. Master documentarian Errol Morris helps explain why in this fascinating and impressively concise doc, just over 90 minutes.

Cornwell’s father was a con artist, constantly playing some long (or short) game, constantly on the run from creditors, the law, or organized crime. Accordingly, young David was painfully familiar with the concept of betrayal, which informed both his professional life as a spy and, later, his wildly successful career as a spy novelist.

Through Morris’ incisive questioning, Cornwell somehow remains something of an enigma while still revealing a playful and wildly self-aware personality and incredible intellect. The parables around pigeons in Monte Carlo and Nazi trousers bookend the film in a delightful and head-scratching way. This is the  kind of documentary you can’t wait for others to see in order to discuss.

Here’s Morris in the cinema today:

Limbo | Written and Directed by Ivan Sen  

If you talk about Limbo you have to start with its look: Ivan Sen acts as his own DP and edits this project with an eye to mood. The desert is fully a character — the low-contrast black and white makes it look like the moon, or the face of a centenarian. An unrecognizable Simon Baker gives a remarkably physical performance as Travis, all slouches and pointed hips where his director refuses to provide close-ups until the film’s final moments — he always seems like he’s looking away, hiding his shame.

Travis is an addict and a detective, exploring a cold case in the South Australian town, if you could even call it that, of Limbo. An indigenous girl vanished two decades before and left in her family (including characters played by Rob Collins and Natasha Wanganeen, both excellent) scarred in the wake. A noir mood piece, it evokes cinematic signposts as diverse as The Passenger and Wake In Fright. Not much actually happens in the film, but you won’t forget your visit to Limbo.

About the author


Carsten Knox is a massive, cheese-eating nerd. In the day he works as a journalist in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At night he stares out at the rain-slick streets, watches movies, and writes about what he's seeing.