Review by Sean Boelman
The only thing particularly sizable about David Raboy’s feature directorial debut The Giant is the amount of frustration you will have once the credits roll. A conventional mystery without much of a mystery to offer, Raboy’s film is one of those exercises in style-over-substance that is annoyingly pretentious.
The movie follows a teenage girl whose life is turned upside down when her missing boyfriend suddenly reappears and a vicious murder occurs, both on the same night. However, unlike the premise may suggest, this is definitively not a murder mystery — it is simply a high school melodrama with a brutal background.
Much of the film is spent watching people talking. About what, you may ask? Things, symbols, metaphors… none of it really matters anyway since everything is so empty. Raboy couldn’t care less about whether or not the viewer understands the movie or its meaning, but even more damning is the fact that he doesn’t even seem to care if the viewer cares.
After a while, these vaguely philosophical ramblings go from tedious to boring, and eventually to outright angering. The film is an hour and forty minutes long, and by the thirty minute mark, all but the most patient viewers will be checking their watches wondering when it is going to be over, and even those with more attention to give may find themselves unmoved.
It would help if there were any character development whatsoever. Many of the supporting characters are indistinguishable from one another. Each new person introduced is just another stock character to add to the dirge to the final shot. Even the two leads are generic, a small-town girl who obviously doesn’t belong and the bad boy who is obviously a negative influence on her.
The enormously talented Odessa Young tries her best to bring something to the role, but she can’t enliven a script that is this unbearably dull. Of any of the performers, she gives the most naturalistic delivery, uttering her unnaturally wordy observations with the only thing the movie has resembling any sort of realism, but that is not enough.
What makes it most clear that Raboy thinks he’s making something profound is the directorial style, which feels like it was trying to do something ambitious but instead is barely competent. The film is so dark that you can’t see a lot of it, and there’s no good reason to set the movie at night apart from creating a noirish sensibility (which Raboy doesn’t do).
The Giant is full of empty metaphors and horribly stiff dialogue. This movie has the right elements working in its favor, but filmmaker David Raboy wasn’t able to pull them together into something compelling, or even moderately interesting.
The Giant hits VOD on November 13.
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