Director: Bouli Lanners
Starring: Zacharie Chasseriaud, Martin Nissen, Paul Bartel
Running time: 84 minutes
As soon as it begins, THE GIANTS (Les Géants) has an immediate STAND BY ME feel about it; mischievous group of young teenage boys, left to run wild over the summer. I strongly dislike the term ‘coming-of-age drama’, as it sounds a bit soppy and makes me cringe slightly, but that is really what this is. (Thankfully not too soppy though).
Set in the Belgian countryside, it follows the lives of two brothers, Zak and Seth, who, over the summer, are left to their own devices in their deceased grandather’s house. With their mother absent, as she so often is, and the company of their new friend Danny, they spend their time smoking weed, joy riding through cornfields and stealing supplies out of their neighbours cellar. It’s all good fun.
However, with money running short and no means of help, they decide to rent out the shabby country retreat to a rather unnerving drug dealer called Beef. A man once rumoured to have killed someone simply with a ‘death-stare’. It’s foolproof!
When things inevitably turn sour, and the group are kicked out of the now fully functioning marijuana farm, manned by Danny’s mad-eyed, baseball bat twirling, psychotic older brother, the group head off into the wilderness. Part of that wilderness being a luxurious, seemingly empty holiday home which they break into. They gorge themselves on liquor and lemon curd, treat themselves to a new peroxide ‘do, and then the children of the corn are back on their way.
It really is lovely. Although I don’t know whether it was the tone of the film, the way it was shot or my general pessimistic attitude, but I often felt a sense of impending doom running throughout. Like I was concerned that something awful was just around the corner, waiting to destroy the three characters I’d become increasingly fond of. Thankfully, this was not the case. Sure, there are moments of great drama, and ‘mild peril’, but nothing that could break my tiny heart. Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable, heartfelt and wonderfully sweet piece of cinema.
THE GIANTS is available on DVD now.