Gigante Never Quite Crests


The title refers to Jara (Horacio Camandule), a swaybacked lug who stands a head taller than his co-workers at a warehouse-size Montevideo supermarket, making it easy for him to amiably tune out their attempts at conversation. His graveyard-shift security beat consists of monotonously clicking through surveillance feed, making sure the after-hours crew doesn’t steal from the store. One night, Jara lingers on the image of a girl on the mop brigade, Julia (Leonor Svarcas). Next, instead of playing video games with his only confidante, a chubby preadolescent cousin, Jara spends his off hours tailing Julia, too paralyzed with shyness to speak to her. Gigante begins with a double-bass pummel of thrash metal—afterward, the music is heard hummed, or coming muffled from Jara’s screwed-in earbuds. The idea is that his opaque deadpan hides turmoil, and his hulking body, an unknown capacity for harm. But director Adrián Biniez doesn’t tease out that uncertainty as Jerzy Skolimowski did in recent stalker film Four Nights With Anna, a masterful balancing act of ambivalence. With potentially lethargic materials, Biniez has made a quiet, intent, involving film, a moony-innocent urban alienation fairy tale of bashful ogre and village beauty—and it never quite crests.

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