Among Giants

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Among Giants

Coming from Simon Beaufoy, who wrote 1997's uplifting The Full Monty, Among Giants is a surprisingly somber and gloomy affair. Consequently, the film, set amidst a crew of down-on-their-luckers hired under the table to paint the electrical towers that pepper the moors outside Sheffield, isn't nearly as bankable as Beaufoy's writing debut. The desperation that would drive someone to climb a giant conductor that could become live and thus deadly at any moment isn't quite as cute as amateur strippers, but outside of the usual blue-collar characterizations, Beaufoy does little to give source to that desperation. First-time director Sam Miller, however, makes the most of the familiar elements in Beaufoy's screenplay. It certainly helps to have Pete Postlethwaite on hand; the actor's broad, distinct face says more than any script can. It also helps that the film's tall locations—towers, rock formations, and rooftops—serve as fine vertical metaphors for the dead ends faced by England's provincial working class. Rooted to his birthplace and the home of his estranged wife and kids, Postlethwaite can only dream of literally going up, whereas Australian hiker, free spirit, and love interest Rachel Griffiths has the entire globe to traverse. Unfortunately, the generally strong Griffiths and much of the supporting cast aren't developed too much, which is a frustrating failing, as many of the idiosyncrasies hinted at in their characters warrant further illumination. But despite these deficiencies, Among Giants remains an effective and moderately moving tale of love, labor, and the labor of love.

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