TIFF 2015: Sleeping Giant
Andrew Cividino’s Sleeping Giant is quite an achievement when one takes into consideration that it is the work of a first-time feature filmmaker. It’s more of a slice of life sort of movie than one with a clear and easy-to-summarize narrative, but it’s essentially a very good film concentrating on loss of innocence, scattered with moments of greatness usually brought to the surface by its strong technical aspects (from its stylized editing to its sporadic shifts in tone). On a storytelling level, it excels in its subtleties; there’s a homoerotic undercurrent running throughout the film, and yet emotions are never spelled out, only implied. Cividino leaves his viewers to draw connections between certain images and sounds, and I respect a director who can throw exposition entirely out the window and just show things to viewers rather than tell them every last detail.
There aren’t exactly any standout actors in the film, but I must compliment the three leads on their ability to make me feel like I knew their characters, like I spent my summers with them years ago. This can be attributed to the seemingly loose script; much of the dialogue felt improvised, but in a refreshing way that doesn’t feel distracting. All in all, Sleeping Giant is an impressive display of technical skills and a beautiful exploration of mortality that also has a lot to say about the trials and tribulations of adolescence.
A version of this review was originally published as part of our Cannes 2015 coverage.