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"Among Giants"

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If you're going to make a movie about a subject as outlandish as wayfaring high-wire electric-tower painters, shouldn't the movie be outlandish, too? The British Among Giants manages the peculiar feat of reversing our curiosity: We start out by thinking we've never seen anything like its ragtag crew and end up believing we've seen it all before. Pete Postlethwaite plays Ray, the painters' foreman, who enlists an itinerant Australian mountain climber, Gerry (Rachel Griffiths), into his raffish all-male brigade. There's a good scene early on, in a bar, when Gerry tries to prove her mettle by catwalking around the confines without once touching the floor. But there's way too much metaphorical malarkey in this movie -- starting with its title. Giants, indeed. The mavericks who work the electrified pylons are romanticized right out of their riggings. Meanwhile, a deeper issue is skimped on: the paradox of men who feel compelled to bludgeon the spirit of the fancy-free women to whom they are attracted.


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