Sunday, 29 March 2009

Belfast Film Festival Day 3 :: Gigantic

Due to another more important commitments, as well as the hangover from the madness of the post-Let The Right One In piss up in a pub down the street, I wasn't able to get to two films I wanted to today, but the one I did catch was a complete delight. Having arrived at the QFT quite late I was very pleased to receive a complimentary Jamesons Whiskey while I sit down for the fifth film of the festival for myself.

Gigantic



You know it has been a while since I have seen a comedy that was genuinely made me laugh from more than just slapstick antics from the Seth Rogans or Will Farrells of this world, so when I originally watched the trailer for Gigantic I was actually quite excited by the quirkiness and apparent intelligence of what was seemingly on offer, and thankfully I wasn't disappointed. Written and directed by newcomer Matt Aselton, Gigantic is a delightful, fun tale about a young mattress salesman named Brian (played by fast rising indie star, off the back of his fantastic appearance in 2007's epic There Will Be Blood, Paul Dano) who decides to adopt a baby from China but is distracted when he forms a relationship with quirky, wealthy Harriet (played by the wonderful, beautiful and constantly under used Zooey Deschanel) whom he meets at his mattress store. As their relationship flourishes, unbeknownst to them, a hitman is trying to kill Brian for reasons we're never actually revealed (one of the few negative points of the movie).

Gillian Reid 2009.

With witty intelligent dialogue and a vivid New York backdrop that until now only Woody Allen could create so magically, Gigantic is a completely eccentric tale with a collection of eclectic and truly lovable characters from Brian's insane mushroom taking father (played by the star of Pixar's upcoming animation Up! the brilliant Edward Ashner) to his two older more successful brothers, in which one of them has a knack for dodgy deals and entertaining representatives from Asia with the most inappropriate of activities. The stand out however of the support cast, as well as the entire film was a complete return to form for John Goodman (yes he's still alive. Seriously) as Harriet's hypochondriac, rude, loud mouth but absolutely hilarious father Al. Any scene he appears in made me laugh and smile with utter joy as he insists on making Brian's relationship with Harriet more and more uncomfortable as the film goes on, if I still did "Stand Out Quotes" they would all be from him. Goodman's contribution should not take anything away from the young leads however, has the on screen chemistry between Dano and Deschanel is as fascinating as it is infectious. Both complete soul mates and alike in so many ways, maybe a little too much to be believable but still does not make it any less enjoyable.

Wonderfully shot with booming grand cinematography from Peter Donahue, placed with brilliant score from the one and only Roddy Bottum (the keyboardist of Faith No More dudes! F**k yeah!). As mentioned earlier in the review the only part of the film I couldn't quite comprehend was the homeless hit man that insisted on making Brian's life hell with no real explanation, consequence or conclusion, and frankly the film's plot would not have suffered at all if it was completely left out of the final cut. That said the first encounter was comedic enough if it had of been just a randomly one off it would have worked. As well as a slightly frustrating open ended, ambiguous ending these were my only negative points of a very exciting, captivating, up-lifting comedy. Gigantic won't change the genre or set anything new or ground breaking but is intelligent enough with a good mix of comedy and emotion to make a really enjoyable evening at the cinema all the more worthwhile. Fantastic cast, with an interesting d├ębut from the director/screenwriter to make Matt Aselton one to look out for in the future. Plus anyone who has made John Goodman a big player again deserves high praise. It's a gigantic winner in my books.

4/5

See this if you liked...
Manhattan, Baby Mamma, Dano's star turn supporting performance in Little Miss Sunshine.

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