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CrankyCritic® movie reviews:

Among Giants

Starring Pete Postlethwaite and Rachel Griffiths
Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy
Directed by Sam Miller

IN SHORT: Not much of interest in an underdeveloped story.

Last year was the year that all the print journalists started complaining loudly about overaged male stars getting down onscreen with almost underaged femme co-stars. Well, the movie makers never pay real attention to that stuff if they think there's enough chemistry to make it work on screen. Which may be why they keep doing it (or it may be that overaged men control a lot of the money. Cranky sits through these things regardless).

In Among Giants, billed as "from the writer of The Full Monty" (which was a comedy if you were sleeping while it became one of the biggest Brit imports in years) the romance is between a fiftysomething Ray (Pete Postlethwaite) and Gerry, a twentysomething Australian backpacker played by Rachel Griffiths. This kind of age gap is a helluva lot less creepy than what Clint Eastwood tried to pull a couple of weeks ago, but heat generated by this pair could make ice.

Not ice melt. Just ice. There is no chemistry to this couple and the rest of Simon Beaufoy's screenplay is so woefully underdeveloped that shelling out the big bucks for a movie ticket to this flick is a waste of time and money.

Cranky went 'cuz he happens to like Postlethwaite's work. Among Giants doesn't give Pete much to work with.

The story is of a group of, seemingly, perennially on the dole construction-type workers (think handymen) recruited by foreman Ray to paint the huge pylon towers that string heavy duty electrical cable through the English countryside. They've got a limited timeframe until the power comes back on, so when Gerry shows up and offers a comely hand, it is taken. Gerry was passing through on the way to north to climb the rock cliffs of Sheffield . . .

I'm working on what I saw, folks. They may be hills or mountains but if you fall off the side, you're gonna get hurt. Given that Gerry, Ray and Ray's much younger roomie Steven (James Thornton) all climb, you know that a) someone's gonna get hurt before the flick is through and b) Steven is gonna get flush with envy over Ray's score.

That's about all Simon wrote, people. There are small subplots left to rot on the vine. Ray has problems with an ex-wife and the kidlets he rarely sees. One of his workers is in hock to a local loanshark. That's about all I can recall. Most of the screen time is spent trying to build the Ray-Gerry-Steven triangle into something captivating and competitive, but it's a story that's dead at the door.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Among Giants, he would have paid...


Short of the lovely English countryside, most of which isn't part of the scenery of this flick, Among Giants has little to offer us Yanks. As for Beaufoy's writing credit, this thing came before The Full Monty. Seems Simon sussed up his comedy talent later on.

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