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GIGANTIC

Director: MATT ASELTON

U.S.A. • 2008 • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 98 MIN


YOUTHFUL UNCERTAINTY TAKES CENTRE STAGE IN THIS POISED, REFLECTIVE U.S. INDIE COMEDY FROM PROMISING FIRST-TIME WRITER-DIRECTOR MATT ASELTON.

The emotional turmoil of the scions of upscale New York parents would seem like territory already mined by Wes Anderson, but Aselton has his own take on it, eschewing brittle display to allow the characters’ hesitant vulnerability to surface. It’s a high-risk strategy which could be too low-key for its own good, yet Aselton’s enterprising blend of surreal incident, generational misunderstanding and underlying longing gives his film an originality and substance which sets it apart from the Sundance-alike crowd.

Paul Dano and Zooey Deschanel are just the job as the central couple. His bear-like elderly father (Ed Asner, who steals the movie) is loveable but on another wavelength entirely, while her dad (John Goodman, on top form as well) is equally bound up with his own problems and the money he throws around to solve them. His dodgy back brings him to Dano’s high-end mattress shop, thus setting up the story’s boy-girl central strand, where each will have to square up to their own problems before they have the strength to help one another. She’s the archetypal rich-girl butterfly, he’s seeking unlikely meaning to his life in adopting a Chinese baby — though his imaginary (?) bouts with a psychotic down-and-out seem to indicate the ferocity of his self-doubt. Aselton’s patient approach brings compassion and understanding as a cumulative process, shaped by a fine cast and his own exquisite facility for getting the visual tenor of each scene just-so. It’s a promising start. — Trevor Johnston.

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