Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Despite its Giant title, this is an inherently small film with modest ambitions. Adrián Biniez has carefully crafted a story that puts us in the position of voyeurs to watch voyeur Jara (Horacio Camandule). He, at least, lives up to the title in terms of his bulk. His jelly belly may be spilling over his trousers but no one is likely to tell him, since he is clearly a man who has some ability in the fist-to-nose department, working part of the time as a graveyard shift security guard and moonlighting on weekends as a heavy metal club bouncer.

Everything about his life is pretty heavy, in fact, from his frame to his taste in music to his lack of social life - the pinacle of which appears to be a weekly visit from his young nephew. But he derives a surprising amount of pleasure from the drudgery of staring at screens through the night. These windows on the world of the supermarket offer a welcome diversion, from the loading bay kids who mess around once the deliveries have finished for the day, to the cleaner who thinks her light-fingered late-night activites are going unobserved. Best of all, though, is Julia (Leonor Svarcas) - a cleaner Jara finds himself increasingly obssessed with, to such an extent that he begins to follow her as she leaves work, hooking into her life, a one-man surveillance unit.

This sounds like the perfect set up for a thriller of the likes of Red Road, Rear Window or the similarly ambivalent Four Nights With Anna, but Biniez deliberately flouts these expectations. He is more interested in examining the idea of isolation and a craving for contact than he is in satisfying our own voyeuristic desires. Jara may be physically threatening but he seems to be an emotional mouse. What follows is a chance to live in his skin, to try to work out what his intentions are at the same time as he is doing so himself.

Engagement with this film requires patience and hinges on the performance of Camandule, who with barely any dialogue must keep his character on the shy side of creepy. That he does this is commendable and yet that sense of watching without touching ultimately extends to us as well. We want to reach out and care - to either love or loathe this hulk of a man - but the lack of real dramatic thrust ultimately keeps us on the wrong side of the screen, looking in, leaning towards him even, yet not quite able to make the connection.

Reviewed on: 24 Mar 2010
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A store security guard becomes obssessed with a cleaner.
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Director: Adrián Biniez

Writer: Adrián Biniez

Starring: Horacio Camandule, Leonor Svarcas

Year: 2009

Runtime: 84 minutes

Country: Uruguay, Argentina, Germany, Spain

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If you like this, try:

Blue Eyelids
Four Nights With Anna