Summer has always been an important season in coming-of–age films. It is that rare period in our youth where both the days and the possibilities within the world feel endless. The season is also one of discovery and change, the time when the complicated nature of adolescence really sinks in. So it is fitting that Andrew Cividino’s wonderful exploration of youth, Sleeping Giant, would be released this week on DVD and VOD by D Films in the middle of a summer heat wave.
Set in the picturesque landscape of Lake Superior, where the blue skies, rigid cliffs and lush green forest offers the perfect getaway for the cottage country set, Cividino’s film uses the serene surroundings to observe the friendship between three teenagers. When Adam (Jackson Martin) befriends cousins Riley (Reece Moffett) and quick-tempered Nate (Nick Serino), the trio pass the time by getting into all the mischievous antics that one would expect from teens dealing with the boredom of summer. They go cliff jumping, talk about girls, egg houses, and steal beer from the local store. Their playful roughhousing and carefree ways unfortunately takes a turn when a secret threatens to push the friendship to the brink.
Capturing the awkwardness of youth with a level of honesty rarely seen on film, Sleeping Giant is a sensational film that effectively announces Cividino as a director to watch. He presents characters who never feel like the typical teens we see in other films. Adam may be naïve to the ways of Riley and Nate’s world, but that does not mean he always warrants our sympathy. He proves that he can be as big a jerk as Nate at times. The fact that the three boys each bring a unique complexity to the narrative only further enhances the film’s overall appeal.
How Cividino managed to pull out such effective performances from his leads is a revelation in itself. Jackson Martin is strong as Adam, conveying the delicate balance of innocence, jealousy and general confusion that comes with dealing with the awaking of one’s sexuality. His performance fits in perfectly with the brotherly, and at times volatile, chemistry that Reece Moffett and Nick Serino have as Riley and Nate respectively. Moffett and Serino’s kinship feels so real that it makes their arc even more gripping as the film goes on.
Crafting a film that never speaks down to its audience, and carrying a rich authenticity, Sleeping Giant is one of the best films you will see this year. It will take you back to your youth, and all the awkward moments that came with it.
Special Features include:
- Audio Commentary
- Cannes Documentary
- Extended Scenes