Fast Color Movie Review
One of the most talked about movies for being not talked about enough is Fast Color, a dystopian “superhero” movie that the few who saw it in theaters declared as one of the best overlooked productions of the year, turns out to be a movie deserving of the limited release and minimal fanfare. There just isn’t enough here, folks.
Set in a near future where it no longer rains—and thus water is coveted—Fast Color follows a wanderer named Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who is on the run from government scientists seeking to understand her special powers, which allow her to telekinetically break apart objects at the molecular level and reassemble them. And cause earthquakes. And see colors, for some unexplained reason.
Fast Color starts promising enough, establishing a potentially fascinating world and a character with intriguing powers. Mbatha-Raw is terrific as expected, delivering a grounded, developed protagonist upon which the movie is built around. She carries nearly every scene, her raw talent on full display.
That’s the thing with Fast Color—it’s a “super powers” movie that heavily emphasizes character development and the talent of its star over action or special effects. That’s all well and good, and the reason why some have praised it. Director and co-writer Julia Hart certainly injects heart into the production; you can see the care and passion for the subject matter in every scene. The movie doesn’t have a huge budget, but it has beauty.
Fast Color doesn’t go anywhere though. The movie hints at so many interesting things—most notably a world on the brink—without following through on any of them. It plays as if the budget, whatever it was, caused Hart to cut out major chunks from the story, the end product less intentionally low-key than forced to be the way it is. The decaying world, hinted at but inconsistent in how it is portrayed, never feels fully realized—and you don’t need a big budget for that, just vision—and certain characters, especially the one played by David Strathairn, are underutilized in the context of the story.
The story feels like two-thirds of a full movie. Again, some have praised the movie for its restraint, for its willingness to tell a story about a person with super powers that doesn’t involve a bunch of explosions and visuals effects, but Fast Color appears to be mounting toward something similar. Then, just when things are going to ratchet up to a level of real interest and intrigue, the movie ends. Fast Color didn’t need to be an action movie, but it is presented as a thriller.
Sadly, it’s a thriller without any thrilling moments, a non-climax climax that leaves you wanting more. Anything.
Fast Color is well made but short on real substance. Yes, it’s heavy on character development, but character development alone isn’t enough—especially at the expense of a complete story.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.