“Why don’t you jump with me? You jump, I’ll jump. 100 percent”
Being a teenager is being on the precipice of adulthood. You’re teetering on the edge with your toes splayed out, ready to take an exhilarating freefall into a land of firsts. In the movie Sleeping Giant, fifteen-year old Adam grapples with a lot of these firsts – his first crush, his first kiss, his first betrayal. But rather than being about teenage romance, Sleeping Giant focuses on boyhood friendship; the bravado, the comradery, and how your best friends can be your best enemies at the same time.
Set amidst Lake Superior in Ontario, Canada over a summer, the film follows Adam’s growing friendship with Riley and his smart-ass cousin Nate. Adam tags along in the cousins’ exploits, as they wrestle, trampoline, jump off cliffs and talk smack. As the summer intensifies, so do their antics. When they start to steal beers and smoke weed, events conspire to rouse Adam’s latent angst. The landscape of rugged cliffs and endless sea that serve as their playground begins to be as sinister as it is beautiful.
A rite of passage film, director Andrew Cividino shoots the boys’ friendship through a sun soaked lens reminiscent of a Ryan McGinley shoot. With a thumping soundtrack that features Mac Demarco, the film perfectly captures the perils and joys of puberty and the moment when you realise your heroes, or even your friends, aren’t what you think they are. The “sleeping giant” in the film’s title, refers to Todd’s Cliff, the hundred feet cliff face that the boys aspire to jump off. But the sense of foreboding that comes with something dormant about to awaken, also hints at the disillusionment of becoming an adult.