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My spoiler free and completely subjective review of
“Home Of The Giants”

By Bryan Harrison

Let me start off by making what could easily be considered a nullifying admission: I’m not a big fan of basketball. Those who know me might suggest this bias has something to do with a certain high school jock who once lured away my first sweetheart. I can assure you that no such thing ever happened, and that I’ll never understand what she saw in him!

But I digress.

In light of this frank admission, some may be inclined to dismiss my admittedly subjective opinion of a film whose plot is centered on the sport of basketball. I can only respond to ye of little trust, that I only made the admission to point out that someone need not be a basketball fan to enjoy the film. Someone like me, for example.

Home Of The Giants” is a full court press of drama, action and ample doses of high suspense. It is also a whole lot of fun. There is, of course, that obligatory moment when the fate of the game hangs on one last basket. But even that genre’ requirement is handled with a distinction that will keep the most jaded theatergoer guessing until the last second.

Another element that makes this film stand out is a subtext which echoes throughout writer/director Rusty Gorman’s well-tailored script. It is a universal theme, but one I find to be very relevant to the issues facing young people in troubled times. It has to do with finding one’s own identity; realizing that those we look up to have their own weaknesses and might not be able to balance atop the pedestals on which we place them.

But I said no spoilers.

The central character, “Gar”, writer for the school newspaper, is played by youthful veteran of TV and big screen, Haley Joel Osment. Though this film is a team effort, Osment is certainly the most recognizable name in the cast. Having been one of the youngest nominees for the Oscar might have something to do with that. In films from The The Sixth Sense to Artificial Intelligence, Mr. Osment has proven his ability to captivate and move an audience. He hasn’t lost his touch. But like his last film, Secondhand Lions , Home Of The Giants is really an ensemble work. It’s built on relationships. Not only that of the two main characters, but the broader and more fundamental ones of family and community.

Gar’s best friend, Matt, is intensely played by Ryan Merriman, who, like Osment, also started in TV at a young age. Merriman never drops the ball in this film. He not only slam dunks the role of a bad-boy basketball hero, but successfully instills a vulnerability beneath the cockiness; an instability that will serve as the first offense to his and Gar’s friendship. Matt’s descent into a world of crime is initiated by the return of his troubled and dominating brother Keith, played by Kenneth Mitchell. As the plot develops, Gar finds himself following Matt who is following his brother, into unknown and dangerous territory.

Then Gar meet’s Bridgette, a new student in his journalism class, played by Danielle Panabaker. Bridgette is intelligent and skeptical and, being from the city, doesn’t understand the important role basketball plays in the community. She challenges what she sees as Gar’s hero worship, and the super-star status the team enjoys. At her provoking, Gar comes to question his friendship with Matt. But by that time it is too late. The two young friends are already caught up in a defensive game against a dangerous adversary, a drug dealer played by Brent Briscoe. The ensuing action makes for a truly enjoyable theater event.

At a recent screening of the film I had an opportunity to chat with Mr. Osment. He shared with me that one of his character’s central challenges was learning to make more of his decisions for himself. I would suggest theatergoers observe that wisdom in regard to Home of the Giants .

In my completely subjective opinion, it’s a wonderfully layered script brought to life by an excellent ensemble. But then again, I am not really a fan of basketball. You’ll have to see it and decide for yourselves.

A wonderfully layered script brought to life by an excellent emsemble Rich, varied, suspenseful, touching, funny, exciting -- what more can one ask?
The acting was superb and I cannot remember the last time I saw a movie that had so much to offer in respect to genres

Skillful, believable and genuinely suspenseful

Intense, superbly crafted thriller

'Giants' gives a new twist to Indiana basketball tale

Home of the Giants
Bottom Line: A dark-laced "Hoosiers" that scores from all over the story court.

The writing is crisp and lean, a fine blend of angst and suspense and humour

Home of the Giants : It's brilliant  

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