REVIEW: I Kill Giants

April 6, 2018

Director: Anders Walter
Screenplay: Joe Kelly
Starring: Madison Wolfe, Imogen Poots, Sydney Wade, Rory Jackson, Zoe Saldana
Runtime: 106 Minutes

 

★★★☆☆

 

I Kill Giants belongs to a unique strata of fantasy rooted cinema, whereby the fantasy element (at least in the traditional sense of the word that branches itself into the particularly Tolkienesque) is being used as a means of manifesting a more literal visual representation of a child's psyche in the face of daunting factors of reality such as mortality, adulthood and the death of a parent or loved one.

 

It feels like it has its foot a little deeper entrenched in the fantasy element at times, opting to spend more of its time exploring the details and eccentricities of central figure Barbara Thorson's (Madison Wolfe) fantasy world and holding back the nature of its fairly easy to deduce grand reveal until later on. That's not particularly a detriment though, if this is to be thought of as a version of Bridge to Terabithia if the fantasy elements embodying it's more esoteric concepts took centre stage a little more.

 

With all that being said, while being in no ways an entirely original concept, the execution of the premise by Danish director Anderson Walter - who's dealt with similar material in his shorts film Helium and 9 meter - comes across rather well even under the limited restraints of the budget, and grounds its all with naturalistic cinematography that keeps the action mostly placed at a child's eye perspective. 

 

Lead actress Madison Wolfe is very capable of carrying the film through wild-eyed enthusiasm, channelling all the frustration and bottled up emotions and outbursts of a child going through such a sad situation as coping with an absent parent. 

 

Same goes for Imogen Poots as her older sister Karen struggling to cope with the strain of taking on a role as a parental figure to Barbara and her brother, and Zoe Saldana as a psychiatrist trying to gently get to the bottom of Barbara's dilemma and her position as a furious social outcast. The supporting cast outside of these two figures don't really get much further dimension beyond stand-in roles, but Sydney Wade is pleasant enough as her friend Sophia who just wants to help while being held at arm's length at all times.

 

Even if I Kill Giants doesn't quite excel at the emotional beats that it is striving for (at least until the end), it's certainly a less patronising version of the same story delivered by last year's well-meaning but ultimately fumbling A Monster Calls. It's enjoyable if dour, but balances it out with a decent cast and a stronger form of execution.

 

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