music friday: billie eilish
almost holiday time

film fatales #122: fast color (julia hart, 2018)

Julia Hart has had an interesting beginning to her career. Fast Color was her second movie as writer/director, working with her husband Jordan Horowitz, a writer/producer. She was already in her mid-30s when she started. They released two more films in 2020, and they are supposedly working on turning Fast Color into a television series, which makes sense, since it plays a bit like a series pilot.

Fast Color is a superhero movie, although a very low-key one that can be approached as just a mysterious fantasy. It features three women (Ruth, her mother Boo, and her daughter Lila) who have special powers. The powers aren't really explained, and they are used mostly to demonstrate how the family of women are outsiders. It takes place in a near-future where climate change is running rampant. We gradually come to know the three characters and learn something of their powers (which differ from each other's), before and ending that sets up future stories (hence the feel of a TV pilot). It's a low-budget affair, and the special effects are more arty than they are action-packed, but that works well here, and when the "fast color" effects turn up near the end, they are impressive and emotional. (I was reminded of the final scenes of Gareth Edwards' Monsters, which were also moving.)

The film is helped immensely by the lead actors, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lorraine Toussaint, and Saniyya Sidney, who plays Lila with a believable expertise that belies her age. David Strathairn, who seems to be in half the movies made in the last 40 years, is also good.

Fast Color isn't really a movie for fans of superheroes, although they might benefit from a viewing. And non-fans shouldn't be scared away by the premise. But in its own way, Fast Color really is about superheroes. The TV series should be engaging, if it ever happens.

[Letterboxd list of Film Fatales]

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