November 20, 2020 The Giant (Movie Review)
New Crime Mystery, The Giant, hits On Demand as of Friday, November 13, 2020 via Vertical Entertainment. Featuring a non-linear narrative… does it all translate on screen?
First and foremost, non-linear narratives are nothing new in films. We have seen it in every genre over the decades, and it usually lends itself well to a story that has a solid foundation, goal-driven characters, and filmmakers who have a deft touch for weaving these various threads together. Unfortunately, you could argue that few of these are present in The Giant, ultimately confounding viewers far more than interesting them.
The feature-length directorial debut of Writer/Director David Raboy, the plot of The Giant, such as it is, is compelling on paper. A young woman named Charlotte (Odessa Young: Looking for Grace 2015, Assassination Nation 2018) and her family experience a traumatic event one day about a year prior to the start of the story proper. Since then, her boyfriend, Joe (Ben Schnetzer: Warcraft 2016, Snowden 2016), left town and has not spoken to her, and her father wallows in depression and their relationship is in tatters. At the same time, Joe has suddenly returned as a series of murders of young women have the small town on edge.
Sounds interesting, yes? Well that is about as clear as the story gets. What follows is a movie that forgets what to focus on and instead bombards viewers with blurry visuals, muddled dialogue, and disoriented first-person perspective that makes anything in the film difficult to grasp. Does Charlotte suspect Joe of the murders? Do the townsfolk band together in some way to combat the killer? Do relationships reconcile? None of these questions are fully answered, and in the end viewers are left with more questions than at the start.
All that said, there is clearly some talent behind the camera. The visuals, while unhelpful for this story, are effective in their dream-like purpose. Viewers will see and feel Raboy’s style, but will have a difficult time grasping it. The performances are likewise hindered by the storytelling. Odessa Young is good but too much time is spent on extreme closeups and surrealist shots that her talents are obscured, as are those of Ben Schnetzer. That is essentially the downfall of The Giant; there are many talented parts to it that just do not come together cohesively.
Overall, The Giant proves to be a more frustrating than satisfying experience. While there is an interesting premise and talent behind and in front of the camera, they are all square pegs with nothing but round holes to fill. Raboy is so focused on surrealism that it is hard to say what The Giant is about aside from the initial setup, and the characters do not act like people at all. A talented visual artist, there is still plenty of hope for Raboy’s future work. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives The Giant 2 out of 5 stars.