2 days ago
One likely would not jump to architecture as a universal topic for one to build a film around, however, first-time director/writer Kogonada's Columbus is an utterly beautiful and contemplative film that most everyone should be able to connect with in one way or another.
The film, taking place in "the Midwest Mecca of Architecture", Columbus, centres on two seemingly-different individuals - one, a recent high school graduate, working at a library while also taking care of her recovering mother, and, two, an older man who has come into town to visit his father who is in the hospital and whom he has not spoken to in over a year. The girl, Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), is an architecture enthusiast; she even has a long and detailed list of her favourite buildings in the city. The man, Jin (John Cho), states that he has no affinity for architecture, though his father is a professor and leading mind on the subject, and so Jin has a deep attachment for the subject whether he chooses to accept it or not. Casey and Jin unintentionally meet and subsequently gravitate towards one another, and through their long discussions on architecture and life, while visiting landmark after landmark, help each other to come to terms with the less-than-ideal and often sad circumstances they are currently contending with in each of their lives.
Columbus is a true testament that independent films are still able to thrive in this day of big-budget studio productions. Columbus is a stunning film; its cinematography and composition are both equally as important as the story that unfolds through it. This is illustrated no more than through the many shots of the characters simply walking with the focus for the viewer being on the architectural backdrops, or the cut-aways from conversation to simply show off buildings and vistas. What makes the film even greater are the phenomenal performances by the two leads - Cho (a well-recognized face at this point) and Richardson (who I did not previously know of, but really blew me away). Columbus is one of those unique films that takes you by surprise and holds onto you long after the credits roll - absolutely one to see.