I am outspoken about my broad disdain for most superhero movies. I’ve talked about it over and over again as I search for Indie movies that actually tell good stories, that expose us to great characters that matter, and force us to THiNC more broadly and more deeply than we do today. The Movie Fast Color is Compelling and Confusing.
Yes, sometimes a movie that makes us laugh (like a superhero movie) is a great diversion. OK, fine. But when that one off, laugh-track infested film, becomes a juggernaut that has made over 21.4 billion dollars (which is the current count of the Marvel movies’ box office so far) it becomes a black hole that affects everything else around it. How can it not? And yet, the truly great movies that have left me slack jawed are getting it done for hundreds of thousands of dollars, or singular millions. (Currently am watching season 2 of Dark and my mind just keeps exploding over and over again, and I bet they are pulling this show off for a million or two an episode. If. (If anyone on the Dark Production team has a comment on this front I would LOVE to know more.))
So today, I bring you a less than perfect film, but a perfectly good, very thought provoking film, that is worth your time and consideration. Personally, I see the movie Fast Color more as a survival film, where a few of the characters coincidentally have super powers, than I see it as a real superhero movie. Here, check it out, and tell me what you think of it:
I adore Gugu Mbatha-Raw. She can just light up the screen, and totally turn the feels on in a heartbeat. Sort of saw her coming in Cloverfield Paradox, and Miss Sloane. But it really wasn’t until Fast Color that I realized just how great of an actress she is. But overall, just from a production quality, this thing can be a bit bumpy. The editing is loose, and can be a little pedantic. (Did you see the thing we told you to see? There! That thing…wait, we’ll show you again if you weren’t clear.) And the directing is hit or miss at spots. But wow, the location scouting is fantastic. And the special effects are perfectly understated and sedate, as they should be. Even so, this is a really interesting little character piece movie. And it goes without saying – the rest of this post is spoiler filled from top to bottom. You’ve been warned.
Fast Color Quick Walkthrough
In the near future, rain has ceased being a thing. Drought and sky high water prices have changed everything we know about the way life is supposed to work. And Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), is a random homeless woman who happens to be beset regularly by seizures that cause some sort of otherworldly earthquakes, and tectonic shifts. Soon, she is being chased by scientists attempting to capture Ruth and figure out what makes her tick.
After running from Bill (played by Christopher Denham) the Scientist, she heads back home in order to reunite with her mother Bo (Lorraine Toussaint) who also happens to have telekinetic abilities to disintegrate and reassemble things. Bo happens to have been taking care of Ruth’s daughter Lila for years and who has never met her mother before. And it’s Ruth’s debilitating and uncontrollable powers that forced Ruth to set out on the run, solely to protect her daughter and her mother.
When Ruth learns that ‘Bill the Scientist’ is on his way to their house, Ruth flees again. And in flashbacks, we learn more about that moment when Ruth’s seizure/earthquakes broke water mains in the house and nearly drowned Lila. And it was this cathartic memory, and her reconciliation with Bo, as well as with Lila, which causes the sky to rain. (Which is no insignificant feat in this charred and parched landscape). After this memory, Ruth heads back home only to find that Mr. Scientist has kidnapped Lila. Ruth, heads to the place where Lila is being held captive and creates a massive storm that panics Bill and his guards. Bo steps in and offers herself, in order to allow Ruth and Lila go free.
Thoughts on Fast Color
First, all movies are metaphors. Some more obvious than others. This one is painfully obvious. The movie isn’t about super powers or using our powers for good, but about familial trauma and the work necessary to reconcile. Ruth says it out loud that she was an alcoholic. It’s only a convenient excuse that she used her alcoholism as a way to stunt the seizures and earthquakes. But you could literally remove the super powers and this movie would only be all the stronger as a redemptive story of forgiveness and reconciliation.
The reason I disdain most superhero movies is because the number one ingredient to make me care about a movie is compelling characters. And characters that cannot die, or can’t lose anything, can’t be compelling. It’s physically impossible. But here, we aren’t encountering superheroes, but rather broken people trying to put their lives back together again. And it just worked for me. Like I said, there were flaws in the editing, and flaws in the direction, but overall the movie just clicked for me. You? What’d you think about it?
Edited by: CY
Bespoke Article & Movie Recommendations