‘Giants Being Lonely’ Review: Indie Filmmaking Being Twee
Starting with the title taken from a poem by Carl Sandburg, Giants Being Lonely aims to capture something precious about youth and American beauty. (Unlike Sandburg, the “Giants” in question are a high school baseball team.) From this haze of weird cuts and barely written scenes played by actors who don’t make the dialogue sound convincing or filling, However, nothing concrete emerges from the cavities that were left in place of their characters.
In his debut as a director, mixed media artist Grear Patterson dismantled a vein of twee indie poetry that is reminiscent of David Gordon Green’s early films (“George Washington”) and an indication of the prurience of another character from the Art world gives filmmaker Larry Clark (“Children”). The film is set in a southern city where inhibitions are running out. It’s the kind of place where a teen casually climbs a rusty pipe bridge, strips naked, and jumps into the creek below in front of their peers.
“Giants Being Lonely” isn’t a particularly plot-driven film, and it doesn’t do a favor to describe what’s going on. Bobby (Jack Irving), the Giants’ hot shot pitcher, is the first fringe of the ensemble among the equals – so talented and magical that Patterson has him pitch a perfect game halfway through.
At this point, Bobby has already started sleeping with the mother of a teammate (Amalia Culp). Regardless of the troubled ages and power imbalances between them, the affair is a bad idea as she is married to the trainer (Gabe Fazio), an abusive father of Adam (Ben Irving, Jack’s brother), Bobby’s teammate. The coach’s mundane encouragement talks are so exaggerated that they indicate overcompensation, either by him or by Patterson as a screenwriter.
Then there is Caroline (Lily Gavin), who is healthy flirting with Bobby (“Bobby, did you listen to the rain this morning?” She asks Prom asking.
When Bobby asks the school nurse for a medical certificate so he can skip the practice and get the trainer’s wife back to bed, it becomes difficult to take “Giants Being Lonely” seriously, even though the trancelike mood (packed with random zooms and shots, that relate naturally to landscape) could be cited as a defense against implausibility claims. Another problem is the casting of brothers as non-brothers: The blonde mocks Bobby and Adam are difficult to distinguish in personality and appearance. Both look like they ran through a McConaugh fan who left out the charisma.
The most noticeable flaw, however, is the ending, which is so terrible and undeserved that it is grotesque. His suddenness is arguably part of the point: Patterson said he was inspired by a traumatic event from his time in high school. But if what happened is anything like what’s on screen, the movie’s inability to make sense of it is all the more unfortunate.
Giants who are lonely
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 21 minutes. In theaters and on FandangoNow, Vudu and other streaming platforms and pay-TV operators. Please consult the Policies of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before viewing films in theaters.