The first feature from Canadian writer-director Andrew Cividino is set in an isolated Ontario cottage community during a bleak midsummer, where the volatile dynamics between three teenage friends-by-chance are gradually pushed towards a potentially dangerous imbalance.
One of the most accomplished and exciting Canadian feature debuts in recent memory, Andrew Cividino's Sleeping Giant is a finely observed, whip-smart study of the emotional extremes of adolescence, and their potentially catastrophic effects.
In an isolated cottage community during a bleak midsummer, teenagers Nate (Nick Serino), Riley (Reece Moffett), and Adam (Jackson Martin) deal with their boredom and idleness by getting wasted, playing video games, and engaging in dim-witted, invariably destructive shenanigans that they seem to have learned from Jackass.
The boys are a study in contrasts: Adam is wan and overprotected; Riley is more outgoing and socially adept, but his fascination with Adam's upper-middle-class family (including the "open" way that Adam's father talks to him) indicates something lacking in his own home life; while Riley's cousin Nate is the most overtly troubled of the trio, a kind of pubescent Iago who talks an endless stream of smack and enjoys messing with people simply out of spite.
Enter Taylor (Katelyn McKerracher), a pretty girl who has known Adam for years (though they're only good friends), and who seems very drawn to Riley. As the summer goes on, Taylor's actions begin to infuriate both Adam and Nate, and push the volatile dynamics of the makeshift group towards a dangerous imbalance.
If you've ever spent a teenage summer in a rural area with little supervision and nothing much to do, you'll instantly recognize both the ennui and the creeping atmosphere of mystery and menace that Cividino's film so expertly captures. Boasting fine performances by the young cast, a singular look (courtesy of cinematographer James Klopko) and some exquisite and insightful writing, Sleeping Giant is a stellar debut.
Winter Garden Theatre
TIFF Bell Lightbox 3