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Columbus Review

17 Aug

The best scene of Columbus is serene, yet dripping with emotion. It’s deeply passionate, a small slice of life that speaks volumes even though it’s as quiet as can be. I won’t give too much away here, but what sparks it is a question from one character to another about a building they’re standing in front of. It has to do with meaning, with personal connection, with finding something amidst the complicated assembling of inanimate objects. It has to do with your engagement with the world around you, and the value within that process is something that Kogonada certainly understands and connects to. That’s one of the more profound ideas that the film expresses, and it’s done so in a visually lyrical manner. Kogonada makes his human characters living, breathing elements of the architecture in the background, utilizing symmetry from both visual and character-based standpoints as Jin and Casey (Cho and Richardson, the latter of which is particularly incredible) wander through their environment.

The writer/director is very aware that this film will only resonate with certain types of people, and his screenplay takes various moments to point that out. That doesn’t excuse some of the film’s problems, though, some of which involve lethargy instead of earnest restraint and instances in which more character exploration would better buffer the emotional connection to the audience. That’s not to say it isn’t a lovely piece of filmmaking on its own, a work of art that lives in the here and now and asks us to look at our dreams, our familial connections, and our differing perspectives. We’re all interested in different things, and we may not give a shit about what others are interested in. That’s fine. But there’s one thing that we can all do as human beings: pursue and experience those interests to the best of our abilities.

GRADE: B

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