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Fast Color - Movie Review

Steven - AV November 29, 2019

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Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is on the run in a drought-ravaged future America, only there’s nowhere left to run—her uncontrollable powers make it hard to stay incognito, triggering seizures that cause minor earthquakes. The government is looking for her. They want to run tests, and the only respite she has left is the place she originally ran away from: home, where her mother, Bo (Lorraine Toussaint), takes care of Lila (Saniyya Sidney), the daughter Ruth abandoned for the girl’s own safety after a particularly bad episode. 

You might characterize this as a kind of superhero origin story, though it’s on a much smaller-scale than any of the ones that dominate movie screens anymore. Most of it is focused on Ruth reconnecting with her family, dredging up old memories in the process. You can feel the history in the film, from its sparse grocery store shelves to the small objects Ruth recognizes from her youth, dotting a house that was once green instead of dusty and parched. There’s tension, just not in action scenes so much as general human drama. 

There are a couple of missteps, mostly in how far-reaching Ruth and her abilities seem to be. The way the drought dovetails into Ruth’s powers seem to work against the intense humanity of the script; the performances and the set design make everything feel like a coherent place, but the script turns things overly metaphorical, to a point where the concepts seem mainly to serve the themes. It’s all a little too neat for the lived-in feeling it’s shooting for, but it feels admirably lived-in all the same.

Overall Rating: B


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