Based on its title, taken from a poem by Carl Sandburg, “Giants Being Lonely” aims to capture something precious about adolescence and American beauty. (Unlike Sandburg, the “Giants” in question are a high school baseball team.) But nothing concrete emerges from this fog of oblique montage and barely written scenes, played by actors who aren’t ready to go. make the dialogue convincing or fill in the gaps left in the place of their characters.
In his debut as a feature filmmaker, mixed media artist Grear Patterson harnesses a vein of indie twee lyricism reminiscent of the early films of David Gordon Green (“George Washington”) and a hint of the itching of a another figure in the art world who became a filmmaker, Larry Clark (“Kids”). The film takes place in a southern city where inhibitions are low. It’s the kind of place where a teenager casually climbs a rusty pipe bridge, undresses, and jumps into the stream below, in front of his peers.
“Giants Being Lonely” isn’t a particularly plot-driven movie, and describing what happens is not favorable. Giants’ hot-shot pitcher Bobby (Jack Irving) is the set’s top marginal among his peers – so talented and magical that Patterson allowed him to pitch a perfect play halfway through.
At this point, Bobby has already started sleeping with a teammate’s mother (Amalia Culp). Notwithstanding the uneasy age and power imbalance between them, the affair is a bad idea as she is married to Coach (Gabe Fazio), an abusive father of Adam (Ben Irving, Jack’s brother), Bobby’s bullet mate. The pep talk fueled by the coach’s profanity is so exaggerated that it suggests overcompensation, either by him or by Patterson as the screenwriter.
Then there’s Caroline (Lily Gavin), who is completely flirting with Bobby (“Bobby, did you listen to the rain this morning?” She asks. “Yeah. Did you?” He replies) and to which Adam plans to ask at the ball.
When Bobby asks the school nurse for a sick note so he can skip practice and put the trainer’s wife back to bed, it becomes difficult to take “Giants Being Lonely” seriously, although the ambience of trance (filled with blind zooms and shots that linger on the natural setting) could be invoked as a defense against allegations of implausibility. Another problem is the choice of brothers as non-brothers: blond haired jocks Bobby and Adam are, in personality and appearance, difficult to distinguish. The two seem to have been crossed by a McConaughifer who left charisma aside.
The most glaring flaw, however, is the ending, which is so gruesome and unconfirmed that it is grotesque. His suddenness is arguably part of the problem: Patterson said he was inspired by a traumatic event from his time in high school. But if what happened looks like what’s on screen, the film’s inability to make sense of it is all the more pitiful.
Giants being alone
Unclassified. Duration: 1 hour 21 minutes. In theaters and on FandangoNow, Vudu and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators. Please review the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching movies in theaters.