This review contains some minor SPOILERS!
I Kill Giants, directed by Anders Walter, was a film that I think needed to find some lighter moments in its character’s adventures, rather than being a film that emotionally beats you down to the point where you have nothing left to give. There is a powerful story in, I Kill Giants, but I think some creative decisions unfortunately led to this film not delivering on the poignant story / message that it was trying to explore. Let’s make our way into the review and see if there are any redeeming qualities that make this a film worth seeing.
Barbara Thorson – played by Madison Wolfe – isn’t a fan of living in reality and so she retreats to a world where she hunts and kills giants. However, she won’t be able to run away from her problems forever and soon will have to face them head on – something Barbara might not be ready to do.
I Kill Giants deals with a subject that isn’t easy to tackle and that undoubtedly make for scenes that are emotionally intense. In this film our main protagonist (Barbara) is dealing with the fact that her mum is dying. There’s no way that isn’t going to make for some teary-eyed moments. But what I really think it needed to do was offset those intense moments with some lighter, more fun experiences.
Our window into the world of this film is the imagination of a young girl. She hunts giants; she forms powerful weapons that she keeps concealed in her bag, and generally disappears into a world of magic and terrors. This should be a film rich in inventive, colourful creations that are exciting to get lost in. But instead we get very drab, unimaginative film that only descends deeper into a tone and a story that is depressing.
The film has a constant desaturated colour pallet – each scene being a different shade of grey – which made for a film that only increased the depressing experience. The designs of the giants were immediately forgettable and never felt like they came from the mind of a child. It was a film that had the potential to wow us with great hulking monsters and locations that felt pulled out of a children’s book, but instead went for a very grounded, uninteresting visual design. This was never a film that I felt inspired by – there were no moments that stood out to me; I do not think back on particular scenes and fondly think of the creativity that must have went into them. To put it bluntly: the film never offered anything particularly memorable.
Now, it absolutely could be argued that because of Barbara’s situation, that it makes sense that the world around her seem drabber; that the monsters she imagines are not things she would be excited to look at – and that’s a very fair point to make. In fact, it was a factor that I continually thought about when watching the film. Was I missing the point. Should I accept the tonal and visual decisions the filmmaker has chosen? I’m still not sure. All I know is: the decisions didn’t work for me.
Speaking of Barbara: She is a character who isn’t easy to follow. I at first was eager to be a part of her world. I wanted to learn about the reality she had created for herself and watch as she bested giants. But as the film went on, Barbara became someone who was difficult to like. It’s understandable that she’d want to shut herself off from other people; that she would snap at dumb questions and say things that aren’t very nice. She is dealing with a family issue that will cause anyone to want to switch off from the real world – I myself know this from a personal stand point when I to was dealing with a personal loss.
But having that personal knowledge also means that I know there are those inevitable moments where you need someone to open up to; where you need someone to connect with and share in the little moments of happiness. Barbara never has those moments. I hoped her newly forming friendship with Sophia – played by Sydney Wade – would offer some moments where Barbara would come out of her shell and we’d see a side of her that was a person you’d want to share in a journey with. That moment never came. Barbara and Sophia’s friendship never went beyond being utilised for plot developments. There was never a bond there that felt real or that I began to invest in, and I think the film really needed that.
With every scene, it felt like this film was dragging me deeper and deeper into a depressing spiral, with no hope of it lamenting to be seen. With where it ends up going and the revelations concerning Barbara’s home life (also how it all concludes), this film was in need of a little light – something to shine through the dark moments and hint at hope on the other side. When it finally gets to the end and things begin to transpire as they do, the moments don’t feel earned. Barbara’s journey feels incomplete and lacking in the exploration it deserved.
I can fully understand and relate to the personal struggles that Barbara faces in the film, but despite that, I never found myself wanting to share in her journey. I Kill Giants was a film that made choices that resulted in me not wanting to continue experiencing it. When watching it, I was continually reminded of the far superior film, A Monster Calls and how much of what that film succeeded at, I Kill Giants failed to do. A Monster Calls is a film I still think about to this day. There was potential with this film and in it I did find little moments that I liked or felt were meaningful. But for the most part, this was a film that just didn’t deliver on what it had at its disposal.
And so, I am unfortunately NOT recommending, I Kill Giants. I can’t find anything in this film that would make it worth seeing. It’s not a film that I would ever go out of my way to make sure people saw. A film like, A Monster Calls on the other hand; that’s a special film that people should experience! Lastly: Apologies for this review not being to my usual standards. I’ve been a little unwell these past few days and my head is foggy with sickness.
What are your thoughts on, I Kill Giants and my review of it? Let me know in the comments section down below. Feel free to follow both my blog and my Twitter – @GavinsRamblings. Thank you so much for clicking onto my blog and reading my review. I hope you liked it enough to return.