Starring Nick Serino. Rated 14A
Sleeping Giant should come with its own warning label. On the surface, its plot suggests any number of lighthearted movies about frivolous teens whiling away the summer at the family cottage. But if you’re expecting a warmed-over, teen version of Stand by Me, you’re in for a shock. Although there are fleeting moments of humour, loyalty, and tenderness in writer-director Andrew Cividino’s debut, this is a film that draws its raw power from fearlessly exposing the ugly side of adolescence.
Sleeping Giant explores the tenuous relationship between three teenage boys vacationing on the Canadian side of Lake Superior. Adam (Jackson Martin) is a wimpy, emotionally insecure 15-year-old who’s attracted to the reckless nature of two boys staying with their grandmother in a neighbouring cabin. Riley (Reece Moffett) and Nate (Nick Serino) are the kind of troublemakers your mother always warned you about.
The foul-mouthed Nate gets off on the kind of brutal honesty that’s meant to do serious damage. His cousin Riley is a little more sensitive. But when Nate becomes jealous of the relationship Riley’s developing with Adam and his family, he makes it his mission to ruin the friendship.
Nate gets his chance when he discovers a secret about Adam’s father (David Disher), an aging hipster who enjoys playing the cool dad but doesn’t have the ethics to back it up.
What follows is by turns subtle, vicious, and heartbreaking. It’s enough to leave you feeling sad, hollow, and grateful for the fact that you’ll never see 15 again.