I Kill Giants is a film about Barbara Thompson (Madison Wolfe) a young teenager who on a regular basis faces off against all manner of gargantuan behemoths to protect her town but is there a darker shadow on the horizon?
From director Anders Walter and a screenplay by Joe Kelly, I Kill Giants is a story based on a graphic novel from Kelly and Ken Niimura. As I stated earlier the story follows Barbara as she fights these monstrous forces that try to enter her town. She does so as an outcast from both her peers and family because she’s not the easiest person to get along with. She’s sarcastic, confrontational and as she describes it herself, hates stupid people which is never taken well by those who hear it.
In the first act of the film, she meets two new individuals in her life that may complicate her giant-killing task. The first is new student Sophia (Sydney Wade) who looking for a friend comes across Barbara on one of her giant prepping days. She’s able to see past the walls Barbara has put up and is fascinating by the world Barbara has seemingly created. Their relationship throughout the film goes through its ups and downs but the two actresses’ give great performances selling the dynamic. The other character is school counselor Mrs. Mollé played by superstar Zoe Saldana who gives an understated and touching performance. Mrs. Mollé is tasked with trying to reach Barbara, an individual who is not easy to get along with at the best of times. This is due to issues at home and how Barbara is not talking about them to anyone. She has one particular scene with Barbara that is so perfectly directed it left a deep impression on me. There is also Karen (Imogen Poots) Barbara’s older sister who is trying to hold the family together and Barbara’s issue’s are deeply affecting her. Poots is great with Wolfe their chemistry onscreen is top notch.
I Kill Giants is a wonderful marriage of director and writer understanding the source material and transferring that to the big screen. Walter designs wonderfully emotive scenes, his choice of where to set characters in scenes is meaningful and full of purpose. An example of this is when something happens between Barbara and Mrs. Mollé there is an extreme dynamic change and he conveys it with where he places the characters in the scene. Cinematographer Rasmus Heise is also to be praised for his work as he sets up the dynamic action scenes that are littered throughout I Kill Giants. There is always a sense of urgency when a giant is coming near Barbara’s territory, you never quite see them, it’s a leg here, an aggressive growl from behind tree’s and it adds to the danger of the scene.
The giants themselves and the magical denizens that Barbara speaks of are designed well, audiences are treated to an animated story of how the giants came to be and it’s fascinating to watch. Unfortunately when a giant does show up the budget can’t quite match how well the lore has impressed on the audience how terrifying they are. There are other creatures that are a combination of special effects and practical effects and they fare much better in my opinion.
I Kill Giants is a wonderful gem of a film that if you happen upon you will fall in love with. Everyone remembers being a child and seeking to hide from their problems through the power of the fantastic and the cast and crew of I Kill Giants have done a fantastic job reminding me of that and I hope it does the same for you.