Wednesday, November 8, 2017

[Review] Columbus

Columbus, Indiana is where director Kogonada's quaint little film draws its title from. It's a meditative and keen-eyed character study about two drifting, discontent souls.

John Cho plays Jin, a Korean translator who finds himself stuck in Columbus while his renowned architect father is in a coma. There, he meets a local named Casey (Haley Lu Richardson, The Edge of Seventeen), whose scholarly dreams are put on hold to take care of her recovering addict mother. The two begin to bond over their shared conflicting emotions about the uncertain structure of their paths.

It's perfectly fitting that this film is shot with a very modernist aesthetic -- its artful frames exquisitely capture the town's prominent architecture and handsome interior design, punctuating the lines and the angles and the symmetry of it all. Cho and Richardson give empathetic and intriguing performances, and the story moves at a gentle pace -- almost serene. But it's so beautiful, so perceptive, and so thoughtful that it sits levels above the dreaded "boring" label. The script ruminates on the complexity of families, relationships, history, physical and mental health, and the roadblocks toward aspirations.

In a striking contrast to its settings, Columbus craftily exhibits that life can't always be carefully measured or planned, despite the blueprints one lays down. In fact, life is anything but symmetrical.

( 8/10 )

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