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  • Warning: Spoilers
    There are more coming-of-age films than masterpieces in the Louvre, but there are only a handful of them that have stood the test of time. First-time Canadian director Andrew Cividino's Sleeping Giant, an update of the short that won the youth jury prize at Locarno last year, may just join this select group. Winner of the award for Best Canadian First Feature Film at the Toronto Film Festival, it is the story of three very different teenage boys during a summer vacation in Northern Ontario. It is not a comedy about lovable misfits such as "Kings of Summer," but an expression of growing up in all its reality and in all its cruelty.

    The film is set in the rugged area around Lake Superior close to lush forests and breathtaking mountain ranges, beautifully photographed by cinematographer James Klopko. The title refers to the huge rock formation near Thunder Bay known as Todd's Cliff which was named after the individual who survived the 100-foot drop. The title, however, can also apply to the anger building in 15-year-old Adam (Jackson Martin), a sensitive, slightly effeminate boy with a shaky self image. Adam, who does not seem to have an offensive bone in his body, is the odd man out in his collection of friends which includes cousins Nate (Nick Servino) and Riley (Reece Moffett). The boys are staying with their Grandmother (Rita Serino) but would not look out of place in a juvenile detention facility.

    They are tough, sarcastic, and funny, but troubled people who often seem numb to human emotion. Though the three live in different social and economic worlds, Adam seems content just to be included and his eyes seem to fix on Riley, an abrasive but still saner version of his noxious cousin Nate. During a wrestling contest on the beach, a bloodied Adam hits his head on a rock but all Riley can say is "Stop being a pussy." Adam has come up to Thunder Bay with his well off parents, his mom and pseudo-hipster dad William (David Disher, "My Father and the Man in Black") who knows all the right words to ingratiate himself with the teenagers.

    When William invites Riley for dinner, Nate has a ton of nasty and sarcastic things to say about parents, suggesting the reason why the boys are staying with their Grandmother. Riley is not adverse to stirring the pot either and, when he happens to glimpse Adam's dad making out with Marianne, (Erika Brodzky) a local fish market owner, he spills the beans to Adam who takes it very hard. The normally placid boy begins spying on the woman, and his personality takes on a harder edge as he joins the others in getting high and robbing a liquor store. Tension, jealousy, and confusion arise between the three boys, however, as Adam and Riley both set their sights on a local girl named Taylor (Katelyn McKerracher), though for Adam she is "just a friend." Though much of time is spent with innocent pleasures such as playing board games, walking in the woods, jumping into the water from rocks, or wrestling, there is a sense of foreboding hanging over the film that shifts the mood quickly. This happens when the fun of playing a board game triggers a bloody brawl between Nate and Riley and when a summer afternoon outing is darkened by the smashing of the carcass of a dead bird. It is only when the boys succumb to peer pressure and attempt to prove their manhood that things get so far out of hand that there is no back to turn to.

    Unlike films with similar themes in which adults look back at their youth with nostalgia, in Sleeping Giant there is no looking back, only the immediacy and visceral impact of a powerfully real experience. Backed by the indie-rock sounds of Toronto-based Bruce Peninsula and an original score by Chris Thornborrow, brilliant performances by the three young men fully capture the lived-in quality of people coming-of-age right before our eyes. It is a film that feels as if you are watching it in real time and when the realization that our lives can change in an instant hits you in the gut, you wish it was just a movie rather than a familiar experience.
  • This movies isn't so much a "coming of age" story as it is a glimpse into the cause and effect of various character's actions and emotions.

    The movie is filmed beautifully. Something about the way it was filmed almost felt voyeur-like. It's a slow telling -- people looking for action, adventure or intense drama aren't going to enjoy it. For the most part, the teens convey a believable apathy, and the angst that is presumably just under the surface stays there under a veil of boredom and is just alluded to by the cinematography.

    The teen characters are solid. They perfectly embody the flippant and nonchalant attitude of that age group. Their conversations and interactions were natural, and thankfully, none of them were precocious, precious or inherently bad.

    All in all, it was a very languid telling of minor actions and their major consequences.
  • You could be forgiven for thinking that this is a monster film, but the "Sleeping Giant" to which the title refers is not actually some great, dozing behemoth. Rather, the giant in question is the pent- up, sleeping aggression that boils in a boy's mind, his violent nature that, for the good of himself and others, must be kept hidden and forgotten. Andrew Cividino's debut film, a haunting piece about three teenage boys who battle through their boredom on the shores of Lake Superior, explores this unsettling reality of the teenage experience with startling precision and a steady hand. With the majority of modern teenage cinema focussing on serving up ridiculous morbidity and sex objects on a badly-made platter (Hunger Games, I'm looking at you) and the celebrated classics of the genre focussing on created a homogenized teenage reality with which we supposedly all identify (Boyhood, I'm looking at you) this film, a film that dares to show a little truth, is an especially timely slap in the face. Not only that, but I can say with confidence that Sleeping Giant is the best film I've seen all year.

    Jackson Martin plays the protagonist of the film, Adam, a reticent fifteen-year old who exists, along with his friends Nate and Riley, in a state of perpetual boredom. Although the other two readily participate in all sorts of strange little schemes, it's Nate who drives them from one distraction to the next. Riley shares Nate's restlessness, but lacks the recklessness and bravado that solidifies Nate as the leader of the bunch. And Adam serves as the quiet voice of moderation, who goes mostly ignored, teetering on the fine line between retaining his principles and belonging with the people around him.

    It isn't just his friends who make him feel this way. Adam's father treats Riley better than he treats Adam, and the girl he likes, Taylor, is making eyes at Riley. But what is Adam to do? Living a secluded life and brimful of boredom, his friends offer the only available respite. So he goes along, robbing convenience stores (their getaway vehicle is a golf cart), smoking weed in a bum's trailer, and in a particularly anarchic scene, tying a firecracker to a skateboard. As the boys test the limits of their power, they grow more confident, more fearless, almost even suicidal. But don't you dare think that you're in for a coming-of-age film.

    This isn't a film about maturation. It's a film that addresses its subjects: teenage boys. It explores their hearts and minds, and the toxicity lurking in them. Nate is a stone-cold psycho, but it's frightening how recognizable he is. His dialogue is vulgar and bloated, but not unrealistic. And Nick Serino's performance is worthy of commendation ten times over.

    The direction is fantastic. The film is shot in an unabashedly Canadian fashion, reveling in the landscape and in bodies rather than faces. For a debut, the subtlety is incredible. Brief suggestions and striking lines capture our attention and urge us to think about their implications. Part of it is sheer guesswork, but some of it pays off. If anything, it makes the film a more engaging experience.

    Cividino's film is autobiographical in more ways than one. First of all, the setting is gathered straight from Cividino's childhood. But more importantly, the film reflects how he experienced those lonely shores, how he coped with boredom, and how poisonous his options were. As Adam descends further into juvenile savagery, he begins to develop strange -- but admittedly relatable -- little habits. He becomes fascinated with a fishmonger that his father is having an affair with, going so far as to place a telescope outside her house and watch her undress. He lies to his parents, Taylor, and finally to his friends.

    The final confrontation refers back to ancient Greek tragedies. The threads of fate are tied by this point, we know what's going to happen, and when it does, we realize that it didn't even need to, which makes it all the more heartbreaking.

    The only thing the film lacks is a real ending. Sure, it ends, but it seems to come out of nowhere. Something momentous has happened, at least in my mind, but the ending doesn't seem to do the harsh beauty of the film justice, freeze-framing the story in a way that's very, very unsatisfying. This is a problem, but still only a minor blunder that I'll admit is subject to taste.

    As they say, boys will be boys. And guess what? They're right.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is not the first 'coming of age' film, nor will it be the last. It is however a refreshing take on this familiar theme.

    The film is a slow build, that covers a summer in what is Canada's 'cottage country' but could be anywhere in North America, but for some minor nationalisms. Cinematography nicely celebrates the wilderness, while the editing nicely mimics the YouTube aesthetic that informs much of today's youth media.

    This is a particularly, almost entirely, male vision of coming of age. The three young male leads are credible and familiar -- struggling to present themselves as adult, unsure of how to assert their masculinity, the role models they observe are flawed or absent. One of the three has a father; he reveals himself to be cad. Another has been abandoned to his grandmother by parents who are absent emotionally and physically. The third is revealed to have lost his father to suicide. They turn to a local man, himself trapped in adolescence despite his age -- but though his routine of video games, pot smoking and petty crime amuses, even the boys recognize the essential hollowness of his life.

    Women in this story are thinly drawn: the mother that still sees her son as a child; the grandmother that can but dote; the 'girlfriend' whose own budding sexuality has her as confused as the boys; the mistress ... Ultimately and interestingly, the story is often summarized as of the struggle between two of the boys for the attention of the girl. But this is only partially, and not entirely, true.

    There are many struggles at work in this film. Two of the boys are 'from away' -- and anyone with cottage country experience understands immediately that dynamic. The one boy who lives full time in the region knows himself to be an outsider to the modern world, which is revealed to him only through the internet and movies, often porn. There is a material class conflict at play, with those that enjoy beach front summer homes and those that support this industry. There is the struggle of success at education -- ultimately the trigger that begins the final tragic act begins with a snub of one boy's 'school smarts' or lack there-of. And there is the struggle for sexual satisfaction.

    Interestingly, the sexual angle is not a simple triangle. Or better put, it is, but not the one expected. The competition for the girl is actually much more sophisticated in the filmmakers execution, and is never fully revealed as some reviewers simplify. In fact, there is as much suggestion that there is a sexual struggle between the boys for one another. The 'girl' is well positioned to be a barrier to the homoerotic yearnings of the star as she is to be the reward. The protagonist is struggling with his friend's attachment to the girl -- but is it because he's losing the boy, or the girl? Smartly, the film leaves the question unresolved. And hints that the character himself is undecided ...

    The film is well acted by amateurs, or better put the director pulls very convincing performances from inexperienced talent. The narrative is informed by a believable view of the dynamics at work between young-old, wealthy-poor, city-country, male-female. A promising first effort, I'll keep my eye open for more from this director.
  • Coming-of-age films are amongst my favorite types of films, but they are often tricky to make. A good film, should give you feelings of nostalgia and form a bond between yourself and at least one of the characters, while a bad one can seem to be nothing more than an episode of Jackass. This film has a bit of both. Sleeping Giants is the story of three teenage boys, spending the summer with their families on Lake Superior and as you might expect, circumstances bring them together. There are some funny moments, trouble to be had, and of course a girl who gets in the middle of everything. What this film has going for it, is that the cast was actually teens, ones whom have very limited acting experience. That being said, it seems as though, the writers also have somewhat limited experience, as this film is your very standard, text book, run of the mill story. What you'd expect to happen in this situation is exactly what happens, and while I like the fact that the story features real teens and new faces, the truth is that nobody really stands up or shows anything more than just kids hanging out. That could honestly be the title of this film, kids hanging out. Sleeping Giants isn't bad in any way, but it's nothing special either, an all-around forgettable experience.
  • During the summer in a resort area on the northern Ontario shore of Lake Superior, three boys in their early teens hang out together. They include Adam, a quiet boy from a well-off family; Riley a tough boy who lives in a modest home with his grandmother; and Nate, Riley's equally tough cousin who is staying with Riley and their grandmother during the summer.

    Knowing that this was yet another boys-coming-of-age movies, my first reaction was "Good God, not ANOTHER one"! But there are some films in this category that stand out among the (seemingly) thousands of others. "Sleeping Giant" is one of them. For one thing, Adam does not go along with the hyper-macho talk of the other boys or the milder macho talk coming from his father. There are more than a few hints that Adam might be gay.

    The first half is rather difficult. Nate is so viciously mean-spirited and bullying that the viewer can feel dragged through an endurance test. This is partly because of the accuracy of the portrayal of teenaged bullies. While it is more than tempting to wish Nate harm due to his meanness, these feelings change in the second half when major dramatic turns take place.

    Feelings come to the surface during a board-game. This sequence is powerful for many reasons. One is that it is so true-to-life with one character acting as an inconsistent rule enforcer.

    The drama that follows is compelling and moving thus making the tough slogging of the first half well worth the experience. There are other fine characterizations as well including Adam's father who is trying to be a father while also trying to appear "cool" to the teenagers.
  • I enjoy movies like this as it reminds me of better days in my youth. Very thoughtful movie and one that doesn't have poor humor and tired jokes tied in. True to life story with coming of age teens. We all have experienced good times and bad times growing up and unfortunately most have dealt with dark times or tragedies of life. The movie shows typical problems and growing pains that we all have experienced in some way or another growing up. Some of the movie isn't hard to figure out where it is going, but again still it is well thought out and true to real life. A good piece with raw talent and an above average story line to go with it.
  • Imagine a movie that seems a montage of home video shots of three young teens having a summer vacation, which feels both whimsical and real. It slowly, very slowly builds up towards the tragic ending where characters get to live (or die) with their choices.

    It was an interesting movie, an original story, with great acting all around. However, be warned that you just have to be in the mood to appreciate this. It is not a fun teen comedy nor is it a dark dramatic thriller, but a realistic foray into the adolescent psyche.

    It is also pretty low budget, although (I think) masterfully done. This is not a blockbuster that you can enjoy with your friends over beer and pizza, but a thought provoking movie that only a few people heard about and even fewer saw. But I believe it is worth viewing.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Having read the other reviews here, there is only one which I completely agree with. The signs are there if you look for them, but most people seem to have missed the fact that the Sleeping Giant is not only a teenager's anger, but perhaps moreso his sexuality beginning to burgeon with disastrous results.

    SPOILERS Where several other reviewers talk about a triangle of two teens wanting the same girl, in fact it is much more about one teen wanting his buddy but afraid to admit to it - and finding a way to discourage the girl from continuing her flirtation with the object of his affection (his buddy). There is one scene where his buddy says (I'm paraphrasing) "If you like someone you should tell them." and there is a second when he almost admits his love for the other boy... but we also understand that, when, in a later scene with his fathers "mistress", he says "There's something wrong with me" - it is really the admission that he has gay feelings. That other reviewers missed this doesn't surprise me; it is very nuanced in the telling, but any gay person will see the signs that others miss.

    As for the rest of the film, it is extremely well constructed, with so many moments of foreboding building to a climax that the tension is almost unbearable sometimes. Beautifully shot, beautifully acted, a gem.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Sleeping Giant follows in the well known path of edgy Canadian Indy films. Set near Thunder Bay, Ontario in a lakeside holiday area on Lake Superior, the movie revolves around three 15 year old boys Adam (Martin Jackson), Nate (Nick Serino) and Riley (Reece Moffitt) who hang out together for the summer. Nate and Riley are cousins and live in the area whereas Adam comes from the city and stays with his parents. The cousins are pretty rebellious and rough around the edges whereas Adam seems more innocent and less experienced in the wiles of the adolescent world.

    The movie is an incredibly realistic portrayal of the sometimes nihilistic lifestyle bored, unstructured and unsupervised mid-teens can live as Nate and Riley draw Adam into their world of smoking, drinking, pot smoking, sex (at least talking about it), theft, fighting, destruction of property and dangerous risk taking behavior, in this case, cliff jumping. Riley sees Adam's dad William (David Disher) have an illicit sexual encounter with a younger lady who works in the local fish shop. Adam plays a lot with a same aged childhood friend Taylor (Katlin McKerracher) who he has grown up with but who seems to be a bit of a flirt with boys and pretty soon Riley makes a move on her. William confronts Adam over his more withdrawn behavior only to have Adam shoot back over his father's affair and this leads to his Dad covering for Adam after the boys steal liquor from a local gas station and are caught on camera. Adam must also cope with the fact that two of his friends may now be in a relationship, so he gets thrust into the middle of an adolescent love triangle even though he professes only plutonic friendship for Taylor. Some may infer that he harbors an attraction to Riley.

    The plot comes to a head when the boys take up a dare from a local pot dealer deadhead who, in his teens 15 years earlier, jumped a 110 foot cliff on a deserted island out in the lake and the two more daredevil boys goad each other into replicating this feat only to find that Nate ruptures internal organs soon after his seeming successful jump and dies thus bringing the summer of fun crashing to an end.

    The movie has stunning scenery, and the three lead boys are refreshingly real and very authentic. It is always preferable when directors cast teenage actors of an age at or close to the age of their characters. In this case Serino and Moffitt actually are from the area and their on-screen grandmother is a real life aunt to one of the boys. Director Andrew Cividino apparently gave all the boys considerable license to adlib key scenes and this adds to the realism of their antics. Martin Jackson gives a particularly strong and nuanced performance and all in all, this is a cut above your typical teen boy coming-of-age drama.
  • Andrew Cividino, in his feature-length directorial debut, has masterfully captured the behavior and stresses of typical adolescent boys. The slip-fighting, trash-talking, hijinks, humor, poor judgment, and friendship will take adult male viewers on a trip through time, and the attractive and engaging cast will capture female viewers as well.

    The movie's three teen leads-first-time actors Jackson Martin as the wimpy, red-haired Adam Hudson, Nick Serino as the mouthy, ever-challenging Nate, and Reece Moffett as Nick's brooding and likeable cousin Riley-carry the story like veterans, largely because they were given rope to suggest scenes, ad-lib lines, and be themselves. Serino won his role as Nate in a casting call in his native Thunder Bay, Ontario. When no suitable Riley was found, Nick suggested his real-life cousin Reece, also a local. Indeed, Rita Serino, who plays the cousins' grandmother, is their real-life grandmother! Such casting doesn't sound like a formula for good filmmaking, but, here, it works. The boys won two international awards for ensemble acting and each of them won a nomination, or award, for best supporting actor at a major film festival with Nick winning Best Supporting Actor at the Canadian Screen Awards ("Canadian Oscars"). Needless to say, director Andrew Cividino cleaned up on major directorial awards, winning six.

    The entire story unfolds on location in the Sunnyside Beach community of Amethyst Harbour a few miles from Thunder Bay. While spending a summer with his parents there, Adam is befriended by Nate and Riley who are summering with their grandmother nearby. The trio engage in typical rambunctious behavior, much of it resisted by wimpy Adam, to include skateboarding, cliff jumping, wrestling, sling-shot wars, egging homes, tobacco chewing, stealing beer, playing basketball, falling from golf carts, and smoking pot. At one point, Adam balks at a 35-foot cliff jump. As Nate yells, "You coward inbred f-k...jump!!" from below, Riley turns to Adam and says, matter-of-factly, "Look, if you jump, the worst that's going to happen is that you might get physically injured. If you don't jump, there's a 100% chance that Nate's gonna mentally abuse you all summer for not jumping."

    But the plot is not all basketballs and beer. The mood darkens when Nate reveals a secret to Adam, one that alters his character. Then Nate brings the movie to a boil as the boys play a board game with Adam's parents. Irritated by a game rule, Nick goes on a frank, obscenity-laced rant in which he trashes his adult hosts and openly humiliates Riley, earning himself a bloody nose. Finally, the mood goes fully dark when a suggested coming-of-age theme drives Adam to tell a lie, a lie that brings the movie to an emotional and well-foreshadowed conclusion. Five of the last six words in the movie are f-bombs. Given the context, you won't even notice.

    The boys' interactions are typical, genuine, and believable, and the trio leads the viewer through an entire range of teen emotions from bored, funny, happy, lovesick, flip, fearful, sarcastic, melancholy, angry, jealous, embarrassed, courageous, and sad. If I find any fault, it's that the movie ends too soon. You could watch these three kids act all evening. The movie is a remake of a 2014 short film in which Reece and Nick also starred and is beautifully filmed and nicely scored.

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    Exact Google Earth Filming Locations (use 6-6-2017 imagery date)

    Lakeside front yard, 48° 32' 35.34" N 88° 54' 13.39" W (community fair scene)

    House and lakeside front yard, 48° 32' 34.73" N 88° 54' 3.54" W (Hudson's summer cabin; outdoor baseball toss scenes)

    Back yard, 48° 32' 33.51" N 88° 53' 53.42" W (trampoline scene)

    Pier, 48° 32' 31.97" N 88° 53' 52.49" W (pier scenes with Adam and Taylor and with boys chewing tobacco)

    Sunnyside Beach, 48° 32' 32.25" N 88° 53' 51.82" W (final scene with Adam and Riley)

    Roadside, 48° 32' 35.58 "N 88° 53 51.36" W (drunken Riley stuck in truck)

    Recreational area, 48° 32' 37" N 88° 53' 58" W (opening swing set scene; basketball scene; community games scene)

    Sunnyside Beach, 48° 32' 32.68" N 88° 53' 33.74" W (early wrestling scene)

    Crystal Beach Variety (Sunys gas station), 48° 32' 38.02" N 88° 54' 47.83" W (beer theft scene)

    The Fish Shop, 48° 32' 38.78" N 88° 54' 57.90" W (fish shop scene)

    Rocky cascade, 48° 32 '2.72" N 88° 56' 30.08" W (Adam sitting on rock under bridge)

    35-foot cliff, Caribou Island, 48° 31' 34.21" N 88° 49' 39.26" W (first cliff jump scene)

    100-foot cliff (Todd's Cliff), Caribou Island, 48° 31' 39.60" N 88° 50 '1.60" W (boating scene and final cliff jump scene)

    The Sleeping Giant, 48° 20' 0.22" N 88° 54' 31.52" W (multiple distant views)
  • I didn't expect much from this film. It didn't look bad, but I just thought maybe it'd end up being a forgettable independent coming-of-age film. Luckily, I found it to be a lot better than that. I thought the acting was a bit inconsistent overall (the lead male being the best actor of the boys), but the sensitive, nuanced direction and screenplay helped the film become something actually special. It's a film that is willing to contemplate ideas that do weigh a lot, but I bet a lot of people the same age as these characters might actually relate. I don't think it's a great, original film, but definitely well-executed for the most part.
  • I watched this film to the end even though it was as excruciating as reading Hemingway.

    "It's Canadian; it's art," I repeatedly told myself. No, it's simply a badly made film. A boring narrative of three unremarkable teenage boys, two of whom need major orthodontic overhauls, bored out of their trees during summer vacation.

    The scenes are as disjointed as the knee I keep throwing out and the film's closing credits appear from out of nowhere.

    Don't waste your time. Bad acting, amateurish photography, terrible script.
  • I heard about this Canadian gem a few years ago when it appeared on the festival circuit. Getting funding to make a film is a difficult task for many independent producers regardless of geography. Artists searching for funding in Canada face a monumental challenge. And if you're not in Toronto or Vancouver, it's damn near impossible! Regardless of how good your script is, unless you have a history or a name attached to your project, forget it. There isn't enough support for indie producers in Canada, which is why many beg, borrow and even steal to get their film made.

    I have a soft spot in my heart for Canadian films for this very reason. I'm adding this preface to my review because for a Canadian indie film, without a known director or actor attached, to make it to Cannes and TIFF (that, I think many would agree, are prestigious film festivals) is virtually unheard of. Clearly, then, there's something genuinely good about this movie.

    I enjoyed the interaction between the three main protagonists, although much of it seems ad-lib and not scripted, it fits nicely. It's genuine. It works. It seems less like a movie and more like I'm standing nearby watching this story unfold in person. Whether it was on purpose or not, it's brilliant. I felt for, and understood, the characters: the quiet introvert Adam who is clearly more comfortable in his skin around his lifelong friend, Taylor (a girl, but not his girlfriend); the bad boy Nate (a character I despise), whose jealousy of Adam becomes quite evident in one of the best scenes in the movie; and the unsettled Riley, who is trying to be a good kid but seems to fall victim to the antics of his cousin, Nate.

    The three boys spend the summer in "small town Ontario" doing what kids in small towns do during the summer: cause havoc and occasionally break the law (glad to see things haven't changed much since I was a kid). Much of the story follows Adam (Jackson Martin) and his budding friendship with Riley (Reece Moffett), a bond that Nate (Nick Serino) quickly grows jealous of. Nate and Riley are family, but is blood really thicker than water when it comes to the Sleeping Giant? The answer becomes regrettably clear.
  • Based on the short film of the same name helmed by the same director. I recently saw many Canadian films, so here comes another one. This is a small film. Not by running time, but cast and production wise. A summer vacation tale, focused on the three boys. You know, summer is always a game changer for kids. This is the season where they learn about the other side of the world. Most of the coming-of-age events take place. Surely this is another one, but I liked it very much.

    The title could imply many things, but one of the meanings was the same as 'coming-of-age'. I meant, suddenly if you learn something, you realise its significance, then you won't be same as before. You try to act accordingly in the given situation. Like any teen films, you can expect fun stuffs from this. The adventure was good. Not thrilling ones, but like what normal kids do. What I most hated was harming insects. It might be nothing for the majority of people on the planet, but that was a disturbing image for me. I had almost turned the film down.

    There's no intro. The story just began and moved forward. Because it is easy to get along. Even the narration did not stick to any one's particular perspective. Though most of the time it was Adam's. The teenager came with his parents to spend the summer at their cottage located Canadian side of the Erie Lake. With two friends, he set to venture places around for fun. He's a decent kind, but not the other two. So because of them, he learns their way of making the day. But there's a limit for everything. Once that limit crossed, the story takes a turn and head straight for the finale.

    ❝Should take the opportunity while it's open, before it closes.❞

    The film was predictable. Not like scene by scene, dialogues, but what might happen next. That's probably not by everyone. From the opening few minutes itself, I knew there's something big is coming up. But I had to wait for it till the last. I haven't seen the original short, though this story was so perfect for that kind. They extended it and I liked those developments which added more details, familiarising the characters and the situation. The writing was the tricky one. Not smartly done, though convincing one. There's always a clue left behind for what might come later, like a straightforward storytelling. So you basically watch it looking forward to that event.

    Still, the film was interesting enough to hook up with it. The film characters were awesome, very distinctive, which made the film possible. Though some dialogues should have been better. Most of them were improvised, which sometimes feels cinematically unfamiliar. Nevertheless, nice job done by all the cast, particularly the three boys. For other than the cinephiles, the ending could be an unexpected, because of the lack of exposure on what film would turn which way.

    A good film for teenagers to watch, but not for anyone younger than that. Because thematically, it was slightly strong. Referred sex, but no nudes. This is being a Canadian film could be the reason not recognised widely, but it deserves better than that. Not just this one, but many fine similar films met with the same fate before. I'm ninety-nine per cent sure you have never heard this title before. But if you had watched and liked such as 'The Kings of Summer', 'Paranoid Park', then why not try this one. It won't be your film of the year, but there's less chance for you to dislike it.

    7/10
  • I had very little trouble getting caught up in what I was watching, which can be a problem for me sometimes. The dialogue was not riveting but it also wasn't phony. This is a problem with many films about youth. They are written with adult dialogue. I was also very impressed with the way the characters were conceptualized and portrayed. They was nothing cliché about who these 3 boys were.

    The acting was just okay...it was easy to see that the cast was inexperienced but it didn't really bother me.

    I didn't like was the lighting or the shaky camera work...a clear sign of a low budget.

    I thought the ending was weird and weak. Both the scenes that involved the fish market woman were terrible and should have just been cut from the film. Especially the unexpected scene at the end. It was hard to believe that this would ever happen or play out the way it did.

    Over all it was a good flick and worth my time.
  • sber-9155124 March 2017
    Sleeping Giant is a hidden gem of a film, but its gift can only be experienced when you abandon commercial expectations and allow the film the requisite amount of time needed to transport you from a pre- conditioned cinematic abyss to an authentic time and place. Emotions penetrate through the barriers of the screen, capturing the viewer with both the acting and directing.

    I enjoyed it. Well done.

    Rating: 8/10
  • This movie is what most of the reviews say it is; the story of three boys spending a summer on the shores of Lake Superior during a critical time in their development. The movie could have been set anywhere, we have seen the story before with different actors and different circumstances but the same ending- confusion, love, friendship and betrayal-culminating in tragedy. And in my opinion this movie did have an ending (contrary to what one reviewer states). There was no more to tell; in fact, to have the characters do or say more would have weakened the message.

    This is an "Art" film. The reviewer who gave one star points that out and then goes on to also underscore his/her lack of appreciation for art, instead making sure we know that the reviewer has a bad knee, pointing out the actors' need for dental work rather than the wonderful subtleties of the filming and acting. That the events of this particular story - teenage angst, boredom, insecurity, relationships, drugs/alcohol, stealing, destructive behaviour and foul/disrespectful language - unfold in a landscape full of nature's gifts makes it all the more poignant. The seemingly slow story is full of signs, symbols, foreshadowing and prophetic fallacy. The beetles, the dead bird, the fireworks, all play a part in telling the story by showing us the state of mind of the three boys. A lot of what they do is common among teenagers but this movie, for me, shows in broad strokes the problems inherent with stereotypes and judging by those stereotypes. The one boy that is portrayed as having perhaps the best character is guilty of something he cannot undo and cannot take back that had horrific consequences. And the boy portrayed as a "bad seed" with no future is the one who in reality shows us his humanity and acts upon the values of truth and honesty. The third boy, seemingly neither bad nor good, just goes along with the people around him and never takes a moral stance.

    I really enjoyed this film and suggest that you don't go into it looking for its faults but instead enjoy the subtleties and painful truths it has to offer.
  • "Sleeping Giant" is a low-key Canadian film that builds to an explosive climax; even if sensitive coming of age stories tend to give you the indie fidgets, I'd still recommend this one. It does start out slowly, with improv'd ensemble scenes (quite convincing), standard montages of teenagers doing carefree teenage stuff and gorgeous shots of the Lake Superior shoreline.

    The POV character, Adam, is too shy and passive to generate much storyline on his own—how many kids like that grow up make indie films?, I wonder—though the shaky family dynamic is laid out very nicely: A scene where Adam's well intentioned but clumsy dad urges him to start something with his childhood friend, Taylor—now a lovely young woman who's caught the eye of one of Adam's bad-boy cousins—signals clearly that Dad may be up to something himself…

    These and a few more wispy, unresolved subplots don't build up much momentum till the final scenes, beginning with a teenage tantrum that busts up a family Monopoly game… (I know, pretty Canadian, eh?) Great performances by the teenage principals, esp. first-time actor Nick Serino as another bad-boy cousin, Nate, the tantrum thrower. Not essential, but still quite watchable and available on streaming Netflix—otherwise how would we ever get to see it?