The 2008 graphic novel by Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura comes to brilliant life in this live-action adaptation driven by a powerful performance by Madison Wolfe.
Barbara Thorson is having serious issues. Having to deal with issues at home involving her older sister Karen and being the victim of bullies at school, Barbara finds herself in a world of imagination, where she finds herself facing against monsters. Despite attempts from school psychologist Mrs. Mollé and even Karen on occasion, Barbara feels like she can’t accept the real world around her and even when she makes a potential friend in newcomer Sophia, it is not enough for Barbara.
When Barbara attacks a teacher at school, she is in danger of being expelled. That is, until Mrs. Mollé learns of Barbara’s obsession with “giants”. Barbara makes some progress with Mrs. Mollé when she describes what “giants” are to her. However, Barbara’s imagination still gets the best of her after after Sophia takes her home after she is beaten up by the ones bullying her. Barbara soon realizes that the only way she can stop is to once and for all, face up to the “giants” and do what is necessary to end the madness that plagues her life.
This is quite an interesting film from director Anders Walter, who adapts the film from an acclaimed graphic novel by Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura. Whereas other people would adapt this form of literature and transition it to film, things usually don’t go as planned. However, the major positive comes in the form of Kelly adapting his own work to film and it works here as the film melds a fantasy world with serious issues that plague teenagers today, from bullying to perhaps mental illness if you will and the means to find the fantasy world as an escape.
Madison Wolfe gives a powerful emotional performance in the lead role of Barbara, a troubled teenager whose serious issues leads her to a world full of monsters and magic. She is convinced that her world is that of the fantasy world where she relies on the strength of someone named “Kovaleski”. Constantly bullied and dealing with her life at home, she always stands up for herself, but does so in a manner that goes on the border of angst and anger. She is truly someone who needs help due to the fact she feels anything wrong with her life is the result of “giants”. However, she will not accept it and instead, intends to fight her own battles her way and no one can stop her from doing what she feels is necessary.
Zoe Saldana and Imogen Poots bring in some great support as the two people who try the most to bring Barbara back to reality. As Mrs. Mollé, the school psychologist, Saldana attempts to be more of a friend and in some ways a second sister due to the fact that Poots’ character of Karen is the current breadwinner of the house and finds herself in danger of losing her job on many occasions when Barbara constantly gets in trouble at school. The one character one cannot stand and makes you hope they get theirs is school bully Taylor, played with such seething intensity by Rory Jackson. On the other hand, Sydney Wade’s Sophia is the only one who supports Barbara’s fantasy world yet at the same time, is worried about her when things go too far.
The CGI for the “fantasy” sequences are quite convincing and bring more of Wolfe’s talents to the screens as someone who is afraid to face her reality when it’s full of fear yet at the same time, give her a revelation as to how to confront her fears once and for all.
I Kill Giants surprisingly is quite a great film about escaping to your own world when your life isn’t going as planned. The film does ultimately give you a message about life and Madison Wolfe gives a very powerful performance in the lead role.
WFG RATING: A-
RLJE Films presents an XYZ Films presentation of a 1492 Films/Adonais Film production. Director: Anders Walter. Producers: Chris Columbus, Kyle Franke, Michael Barnathan, Kim Magnusson, Adrian Politowski, and Nick Spicer. Writer: Joe Kelly; based on the graphic novel by Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura. Cinematography: Rasmus Heise. Editing: Lars Wissing.
Cast: Madison Wolfe, Zoe Saldana, Imogen Poots, Jennifer Ehle, Sydney Wade, Rory Jackson, Noel Clarke, Aideen Wylde.
RLJE Films releases the film in select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD today.