Among Giants (1998) Poster

(1998)

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8/10
Electric Monty
paul2001sw-110 February 2003
As a drama set in working class Yorkshire, Among Giants certainly has its antecedants: The Fully Monty, with which it shares a screenwriter, Sheffield and an interest in full male nudity (which in this film, we actually get to see!); Brassed Off, which also featured Pete Poselthwaite, a collection of emotional but never histrionic performances, and a slightly charicatured depiction of free market economics; and sitting above them all, the memory of Ken Loach's Kes. The film lacks Loach's realism, and the plot is full of holes. Against that, both Poselthwaite and Rachel Griffiths are superb, and it's shot with a great feel for landscape, both inside and outside the city. It's not perfect, and it lacks the Monty's cheap selling points, but in spite of that, it's done with real feeling and is arguably the better film.
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7/10
Why the negative reaction?
PLOOBOY1 January 2004
I really don't understand why this film has received such generally negative reaction. I agree that it does bog down in a couple of places, and maybe some of the charactors could have been developed in a litte more detail, but Postelwaite and Griffiths are thoroughly engrossing.

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.
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10/10
Involving and character driven
mandy-scott12 January 2003
I did not know of the existence of this film until i saw it on a video preview. I rushed right out to hunt it down as Pete Postlethwaite and Rachel Griffiths are absolutely brilliant actors. I think it is fantastic that character actor Pete Postlethwaite, finally gets to play a romantic lead. There has always been something compelling and charismatic about him. Rachel Griffiths is perfect also. Forget your air-brushed, hollywood ideas of romance and sex, this is real, and sexy and uplifting at the same time.
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10/10
a must see
bud-2012 March 2000
this is a must see movie for those who love Pete and Rachel. although unlikely lovers, it is refreshing to see a movie which does not go down the standard Hollywood road of beautiful man meets beautiful woman; they argue, they fight, they then fall in love. this script is life as it is, not as it might be if we all lived in the typical studio executive mind...
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10/10
Loved this movie!
leltwin-122 January 2004
If you are like me, and don't subscribe to the hollywood blockbuster type movie, you will probably like this movie. Pete is great as usual, and sexy, and he finally plays a romantic lead part. This movie has many funny scenes. So do yourself a favor, next time you are at the rental place, walk past the wall of 50 copies of the same movie, and take the one with only two copies. That is where I found this little gem. Enjoy!
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Aims for a sweeping romance drama but falls short
bob the moo2 February 2003
Ray is the foreman of a crew working for the electricity board on an informal, cash in hand basis. They have a few months to paint a 15 mile row of electricity pylons. Into this mix comes Australian back packer Gerry who joins the crew for some work. Ray and the much younger Gerry start to fall for each other as they work causing splits and disharmony within the crew.

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.
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Sorry to hate it
Boyo-217 February 1999
This is the type of movie that you don't want to trash, but you have to anyway. There is too much illogical behavior, too many dramatics, and not enough things to recommend. There was a beautiful scene in a watertower and some of the aerial shots are great, but unless you are a Pete Postlethwaite completist, I'd stay away.
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7/10
Not for big budget movie fans but give it a chance.
propsguy1 November 1999
This movie is not nearly as bad as some other reviewers would have you believe. While it is no Hollywood big budget blockbuster it is a nice, sensitive movie about three people and their brief involvement. The scenery is breathtaking and the towers make a great backdrop. As far as being embarrassed by Postlethwaite's nudity I can only say I hope I look that good at 53. This is not a movie about a perfect man and a perfect woman under palm trees in a perfect world, It is about life in a dreary town leading a dreary existence. The crying man? He was living his dreary life, into a bookie for more than he had, knowing he was not getting out. I might cry as well.

The movie was a bit slow at times but give it a chance.
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Give it a miss.
Martin_G23 September 1998
This film is truly awful. Its intention is to be in the vein of Raining Stones or Secrets and Lies or Brassed Off. It only skips the surface, never digging into the lives of the characters. The guy who cries in the campfire scene must have a problem, but what is it? Can you imagine Rachel Griffiths falling in love with Pete Postlethwaite? Excerpt: "Somewhere under those clothes there's a woman... Get 'em off." That _ridiculous_ scene in the silo or whatever it is, the two of them nude in the falling water? Postlethwaite looks like the village idiot.

Heaven knows why he got mixed up in this film. Don't you make the same mistake.
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7/10
Watch for Rachel Griffiths
barberoux4 May 2000
An odd movie. Rachel Griffiths is the one to watch. She plays a free spirit climber who gets involved with one of the male leads. She's vulnerable and not at all sure of the situation she is involved in. I wish her character was more revealed, emotionally. I wanted to know more of her character but maybe that is what she was playing towards. She was intriguing. She was great in `Hilary and Jackie'. Pete Postlethwaite was as usual very good. He's a very versatile and talented actor
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6/10
Nice film, if a bit slow at times
smatysia29 June 2019
Kind of slow at times. Plus, I had some difficulty following the dialogue due to the character's accents, but then it probably wasn't made with viewers from the American South in mind. The acting performances seemed good, and the photography was nice. I appreciated this movie for not having a super-hero, or being a rom-com, which is most of Hollywood's output these days.
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10/10
Beautiful visuals, solid acting - a portrayal of yearning
john-harris-569-90898419 March 2014
Written before Full Monty but only released after, Among Giants treads a similar theme - the friendship/humor/repartee of northern working men, struggling to find meaning and existence in Thatcher's Britain. Trouble comes to the group with the introduction of an exotic outsider who, whilst initially bringing the whiff of promise to their otherwise dour existence, inevitably leads to the group's fracture. The stranger leaves, the horizon shrinks, with the slow grind of normalcy (and poverty) inevitably snaring the group again. In short, a story of a rare coming together, when a moment of sunshine briefly lingers on otherwise dark and penuried.

Well written, strong acting, stunning visuals, and an aching, yearning soundtrack. Beautiful.
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4/10
Boring, slow, hard to understand dialogue
Ken-20828 October 1999
Movie didn't have much plot and was uninteresting. Basically you spend a lot of time watching people paint. Also it's very difficult to hear or understand the dialogue -- partially because of the accents, but also because words are mumbled.
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9/10
Close to the bone.
paulcreeden25 July 2001
I will begin by saying that Pete Postlethwaite and Rachel Griffiths are personal favorites. I initially thought I would like this film because they were in it. Not the case at all. I was impressed with the film because it cuts close to the bone of proletarian culture, a widespread proletarian culture of the overeducated and underemployed classes of the so called First World economies, or Northern economies. The film could as easily have been set in Oklahoma. There is a two-step dancing scene that makes this quite obvious. So, on the surface, the story of the older divorced man with the younger liberated single woman seems rather typical, often told. The lads, the pack of macho misfits, also provide much of the predictable bonded male nonsense. And, folks, it is realistic. That's the part that got under my skin. If you grew up in an American suburb and now live in a gated community or a condominium, it might be too painful for you to let some of the movie's message in. Yes, indeed, the few live on the backs of this many. And their lives do indeed reflect the burden. If you are willing to consider what is really happening behind the obvious of this work, I think you will be impressed too.
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2/10
What happened Pete & Rachel?
wisewebwoman7 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
it's a challenge to even get into this film. For one the lighting is pitiful and the sound? great chunks of dialogue swallowed up whole and unintelligibly between accents and mumbles. Lots of gaping chasms of no script filled with country and western music with a soupçon of Negro ballads overlaid. A bar scene with cowboy hatted and booted line dancers was ludicrous. I had to shake my head a few times and assure myself this was taking place in Northern England. There is no plot. No romantic development between the two leads apart from ye olde meaningful looks.

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.
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1/10
Dull plot with one interesting scene
derek214 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This is, for the most part, a dreadfully dull movie with an utterly pointless plot.

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.

Big yawn.

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.
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1/10
A fake Sheffield for America?
Primadonna3 February 2003
Billed as a kind of sequel to The Full Monty, about unemployed men in Sheffield, this movie is a fake.

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!
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6/10
New Deal revival
kcfl-18 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Other reviewers compare this film to "Brassed Off" and "The Full Monty," but to me, it brought memories of working class dramas of FDR's time, specifically "Slim" (1937) and "Manpower" (1941), both about men working on high lines. Herewith my edited summary of "Slim":

"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.
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Mixed feelings for this
Lennon-35 November 1999
Among Giants is not bad for the various and sundry reasons listed elsewhere in reviews for this film. And to criticize Pete Postlethwaite and Rachel Griffiths for their physiques is pathetic and should not be included in any movie review. The one large failing of this film is the paper-thin plot and characterizations. Yes, we have an older man falling in love with a younger woman. Fine. But why? And why does this merit the making of a film? Give us motivations, explanations, personal stories. You don't get to know any of the characters in this film beyond the surface. The performances are fine ones, and the scene in the abandoned cooling towers is beautiful and joyous. But it isn't enough to save a film without adequate story-telling behind it.
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Plodding nonsense
EdgarB5 June 2000
People criticise action films for not backing up the fireworks and explosions with a story. The same applies for this drivel, lots of sweeping aerial shots of the north of England are let down by a slow storyline, where the characters' actions are rarely explained. A waste of talent and time.

Extra points deducted for showing pasty-faced Northerners line-dancing. Oh, the horror.
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Stamp collectors might find this movie interesting
grinna21 May 2000
I found this movie very, very hard to get involved in. Boring story line with a boring dialogue. No heroes, no character developments, no excitement, pathetic attempts at entertaining paying customers. To give some sense of how bored I become, I started looking at each character's nose to see which one was the most mishapen. Wait for the sequel, the same cast buy step-ladders and start painting all the wooden bridges in England white (except for one which they paint pink) scintillating stuff;.....can't wait.....
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Tired of Hollywood schlock romances? Looking for off the beaten path?
PFryer2 December 1999
When two of the best English actors working today are in the same film it is time to prick up your ears. Postelthwaite and Griffiths are casually superb in this film. "Among Giants" will stay with you - it is quirky and gritty and the visuals are haunting. The lives of these working class characters display dignity in obscurity. If you let the film take its meandering time you will grow to care about each character, and not just the superb leads. It is a wonder some films are ever made - not that they are not cookie cutter Hollywood retreads, but that there is still an audience for small films. Video has ironically been the savior of film.
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1/10
Pommie losers paint power towers
hexa-228 March 2001
This apology for a movie is about absolutely nothing! Rachel Griffiths must have needed the money. The film must have been made on a very low budget, because the lighting was non existent. I made a vow if I ever see Pete Postlesumthingor other I'll commit suicide. I'd be happy to know if there was 1) a plot or 2)a script. My biggest regret is I wasted my time watching this rubbish.
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4/10
You have to watch this one very closely
rlcsljo2 September 2002
Americans have the attention span of a fruit fly and if something does not happen within the span of a typical commercial, we tend to lose interest really fast.

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.
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