Among Giants (1998)
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Also, the film is visually very interesting. Someone has a real eye for shot construction.
After looking at the user ratings, I was expecting to be disappointed. I wasn't.
I vaguely remember hearing reviews of this film when it was released but it didn't do well and was hardly in the cinemas for a week before it vanished. It popped up recently on TV and I gave it a go despite not hearing much good about it. It is actually not that bad but it is a long way short of The Full Monty.
The film seems to want to have some sort of gritty social dimension about it but this is no Ken Loach film and it doesn't come off. I didn't get any wider point about the class of these men that ran through the story. The serious side to the work that comes in later is not as strong as it needs to be and didn't carry enough weight. The main thing here is the confused romance between Ray and Gerry that didn't quite come off. The reasons for the difficulties in the relationship are not totally clear and the way it goes is not convincing, rather a bit dull and pedestrian. It has it's moments of potential beauty such as the cooling tower scene and tender moments between the pair, but these don't come off as well as they should.
I found this to be partly the fault of the cast. Postlethwaite is a reasonably good actor and Griffiths can be very good (check out HBO's 6ft Under) but they lack a real sense of chemistry that was needed to be realistic. The crew are all pretty good despite having not well formed characters. Postlethwaite needed to be stronger but he is a little lo-key when really he should have commanded the screen more, although his tact does work in the quiet moments.
The direction is good and Miller seems to like the wide Northern landscapes with all his swirling helicopter shots and fancy shots through the pylon structures. Add to this the haunting score and the film has a sort of other-worldly feel to it that the material can make good on. Maybe I just didn't get it and others may find this to be very touching, however I must admit that I never got emotionally involved in any of it and it left me feeling a bit dry more than anything else. It may have had potential on paper but on the screen it goes for a big drama but fails to satisfactorily deliver.
The movie was a bit slow at times but give it a chance.
Heaven knows why he got mixed up in this film. Don't you make the same mistake.
Well written, strong acting, stunning visuals, and an aching, yearning soundtrack. Beautiful.
Pete Postlethwaite plays the boss of a ragtag crew of painters who are hired to paint some high-voltage electrical towers. Under the table. Rachel Griffiths comes along and bingo she's hired after walking around the inside walls of a pub. Yeah, you read that right.
A weird scene is the two of them running around inside a water tower, fully naked. It reeks of X-Rating titillation. The money shot. And yes weird and out of context.
None of the other characters have lives or backgrounds or romances. Just Pete and Rachel. The others exist only to provide backdrop and crude comments.
A complete waste of awesome talent. 2 out of 10.
Pete Postlethwaite plays the foreman of a freelance crew of painters who are hired to paint some high-voltage electrical towers. What he knows, and the rest of the crew doesn't know, is that the company which owns the towers is short of money, and may not be able to pay them in full. (This "secret" is revealed early on, so I do not consider it a spoiler.)
Rachel Griffiths needs a job, so she joins the otherwise all male crew.
There is an "intermission" nearly two minutes long which features Pete and Rachel running around fully naked. This scene has absolutely nothing to do with the story. I think the producers threw it in to wake the audience up after the preceding events have put everyone to sleep.
It is the only part of the movie that is worth watching.
As someone born in Sheffield, and still with links to the city, I was extremely disappointed by this film. Someone said it could have been set in Oklahoma, and that just about sums it up for me. This looked like a romantic view of northern England made for the US market. Probably many Americans - and many southern English people - don't realize that Sheffield is a big city of around half a million inhabitants, with a sophisticated urban culture. In Among Giants it was depicted as some dreary dead-end semi-rural small town, where everyone in Sheffield seemed to drink in the same old-fashioned pub, and where the people's idea of a party was line-dancing in some village-hall lookalike. This was a small close-knit community, not a metropolitan city.
The working-class Sheffield men were totally unlike their real-life counterparts, who are generally taciturn and communicate with each other in grunts and brief dry remarks. They don't chatter, and they certainly don't sing in choirs.
Even the rural settings, supposedly in the Peak District, looked alien to me. I recognized a few places where I used to go hiking, but some of the aerial shots of pylons stretching out over a bleak landscape reminded me more of Wales. Indeed, in the credits at the end I spotted a reference to Gwynedd, Wales. The Peak District is, in the summer, crawling with walkers and tourists in cars. It is situated between two big cities. It is not some kind of wilderness.
As for the notion that a young woman could fall in love with, and lust after, Pete Postlethwaite, that was ludicrous, and could only have been a male dream. Her reasons for becoming his lover were never made apparent. None of the men was shown as having a partner or families; they existed in a vacuum.
Anyone wanting to see a film about unemployed Sheffielders would have been led astray. This Sheffield existed only in the minds of its middle-class writers and film-makers.
It was a gigantic fake!
"Farmer joins a group of workers who are building power lines. Foreman teaches him all he needs and soon they become friends. They visit the Foreman's girl friend, who also falls in love with the Farmer. They go on a dangerous job, working next to 88,000 volt power line means taking a deadly risk."
Now what happens in "Giants": A Climber joins a group of workers who are painting power lines. Foreman teaches Climber all she needs and soon they become lovers. The Foreman's roommate also falls in love with the Climber. They go on a dangerous job, working next to a high-volt power line that suddenly is turned on.
The main difference is that the newcomer in "Giants" is a woman. This is even conceivable in a 1930's film if the woman disguised herself as a man. The workers' profanity and sexual couplings are elements you never would have witnessed back then, but the group singing is a throwback. Also, the outcome is the opposite of a 30's happy ending.
Extra points deducted for showing pasty-faced Northerners line-dancing. Oh, the horror.
I found out an exciting fact from this film: someone has to paint high tension utility poles and do it on a schedule! And guess what, they really would like to be doing something else (the viewer has similar feelings).
Surprisingly, when I was bored watching late night infomercials and decided to actually watch this film, I found the characters to be interesting and highly engaging.
I just don't usually watch that much late night TV, so I can't recommend this film, unless watching paint dry is your idea of an exciting two hours out of your life.