A brief rant. As a lover of film, I really, and I mean really miss the old days of film release schedules. There were so few films coming out in a given month and you knew what was coming out when, and there was a certain build up of anticipation. Now I’m not talking about the 1989 Batman campaign because that was another level. I just mean a written plot synopsis in a paper or magazine, a poster and a trailer, that was all you got and frankly all you needed to gage your interest in a film.
Now that movies are so much cheaper to make, we are flooded with content both in steaming direct to video along with the feature film markets. The double edged sword of it all is starting to take its toll in a negative way. I miss so many films now and to determine if I want to see something occurs in such a small window of time, it could be a year later before I see a film that by all accounts should be seen by as many people as possible.
The film Fast Color is one of those films that with todays movie watching culture I probably would never have seen, but thanks to the other edge of that sword, which includes the internet and in this case a film podcast, it sounded like something I would have rented from my local Blockbuster Video had I seen it on the shelf.
The story follows a young woman named Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who is on the run from a mysterious government organization in a world that has not seen rain in almost a decade. She takes shelter in her childhood home where her mother Bo (Lorraine Toussaint) who is raising Ruth’s daughter Lila (Saniyya Sidney). The all three have strange X-Men like abilities from reducing objects to a sandy substance to causing earth tremors. As Ruth attempts to rebuild her relationship with her mother and daughter, the shadowy government threat and a local sheriff (David Strathairn) begin to close in.
The tone and the themes of Fast Color bring about memories of 2016’s Arrival with quiet contemplative moments abruptly ended with shock and intensity. While the film written by Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz and directed by Hart doesn’t stand shoulder to shoulder to the Denis Villeneuve classic is does hold its own by staying small and focused. It presents a place and time not to dissimilar from our own, with issues that plague families all over the world. It also displays the beauty of our world even as this version is being wasted away by drought. There is a simplicity and heart to this film that hits you where you live and reminds you that children are indeed our future.
What also makes Fast Color memorable is the incredible cast of the three leads, specifically Mbatha-Raw and Toussaint. They bring a life to what could be prototypical characters from other family dramas. It’s not perfect, but it is perfect for what it is trying to accomplish. Plus it is always nice to see David Strathairn getting to actually act, unlike just being a presence as in this year’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters where he just was paid to glare at people. Here he gets to do a cross between Marge Gunderson and Richard Farnsworth from Misery, I certainly could have used some more of him.
I find myself enjoying some of these smaller niche sci-fi and or comic book premise films like I Kill Giants, and Midnight Special, both of which are films that deserve to be seen by as many people who make it a point to see every Marvel movie. There is just something about taking some of these big and powerful concepts and whittling them down to a more personal and heartfelt version of what we’ve seen before. That is what Fast Color does, it takes a well known troupe and elevates it to what other films in this genre should aspire to be.