07th Dec2018

‘Columbus’ Blu-ray Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: John Cho, Haley Lu Richardson, Parker Posey, Michelle Forbes, Rory Culkin, Erin Allegretti, Shani Salyers Stiles, Reen Vogel, Rosalyn R. Ross, Lindsey Shope, Caitlin Ewald, Jim Dougherty, Joseph Anthony Foronda, Alphaeus Green Jr., Wynn Reichert, Jem Cohen | Written and Directed by Kogonada


Casey lives with her mother, a recovering addict, in a little-known Midwestern town haunted by the promise of modernism. Jin, a visitor from the other side of the world, attends to his estranged, dying father. Burdened by the future, they find respite in one another and the architecture that surrounds them. Filmed on location in Columbus, Indiana, this tender meditation on love, loss and architecture is the directorial feature debut for writer/director Kogonada.

Kogonada’s Columbus is cross between the thematic threads of family showcased in the works of Japanese auteur Yasujirō Ozu and structure of place and setting reminiscent of both Stanley Kubrick and Derek Jarman. This thematically cross-breeding of sorts offers an incredibly rich tapestry of bottled up and brazen wholehearted emotionally compelling exploration of fear.

It is the cinematography from Elisha Christian that’ll walk away with the plaudits here. To say that it is impeccable would understate such vibrant and delicate conveying of artistic impression. The framing and audacity of beauty that entails and is expressed is astonishing. Even when implemented as a simple backdrop to events that unfold, the towering and often spectacular architecture takes centre stage with an impactful screen presence and a story that is compelling.

Director Kogonada also edits and writes his own picture with a resounding enormous success. Firstly, the writing is endearing and engaging. Going hand in hand with the performances from both John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson, who grab the material at hand superbly and just run with it in a dash to the finishing line. The latter especially establishing a deeply enriching and profoundly in awed charismatic role of a character, held down and grappling in emotional torment via small-town oppression with a big-minded mentality. Secondly, the editing. A subtle, yet profoundly effective and beautifully moving attribute of the picture. Slow, yet ever so progressive with a small build up of intensity with its subject on screen. It allows the film to open up via the closed space on the screen and creates breathing room for a beautiful intoxicating screenplay to develop.

Columbus is out now on Blu-ray from Network Releasing.


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