Writer & Director Julia Hart Brings Us This Years “Kin”. Just As The Baker Brothers Did With “Kin”, It’s A Lower Budgeted Sci-Fi/Drama That Brings Innovative Ideas To Produce An Impactful Final Product. “Fast Color” Is A Smart, Original Film Made With Care & Love, That Celebrates The Power Of Women. One Of My Favorite Films Of The Year.
In 2018 a very special lower budgeted sci-fi/drama “Kin” was released in theaters to an unfairly unsuccessful run. Twin brothers, the baker brothers deserved a larger audience and more praise for their debut. “Kin” is a special film one of originality and vast world building, it was one of my favorite and best films of the year. Now husband and wife team Julia Hart (writer & director) and “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz (co-writer), bring us this years “Kin”, another remarkable and original sci-fi/drama called “Fast Color”.
Julia Hart’s film is not only one of originality, it’s a tight and leanly paced 100 minute film that is smart, cool and beautiful, that brings impactful ideas to produce an impactful final product. “Fast Color” has all the makings of a basic framework to a superhero origins story, but our heroine Ruth is in-fact 100% human.
Ruth is one of those who has been blessed or cursed with powers that she has never been able to harness or even understand. Her special abilities has been inherited through generations within her family, from her mother, her mother’s mother and all the way down to her daughter. In this case she feels cursed, not blessed.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“A Wrinkle In Time”) is Ruth who has a history of seizures so violent, they can cause earthquake-level shifts in the tectonic plates of the Earth, even in places that’s never experienced an earthquake before. When Ruth was a teenager, her inability to control these episodes led to a near-tragedy involving a family member. Terrified at the consequences of the next seizure and at constant odds with her overprotective mother Bo (“Orange Is The New Black” star Lorraine Toussaint). Ruth storms out to never come back again.
Several years later, with the planet shriveled up and dying. Ruth is on the run in a bleak near future where it hasn’t rained in years, and virtually the entire planet has become a barren wasteland, unable to produce crops. Water is in very short supply and has become a pricey commodity, where a half-gallon jug will cost you $15 or more. Everyone uses water sparingly, whether for drinking or cooking or a quick wash-up.
Ruth lives like a fugitive, always being on the run with a gun in her bag, stealing cars to get from place to place and constantly looking over her shoulder. She tries to scrape up whatever money she can get to buy some water, get a meal and find lodging for the night in some rundown motel.
Of course that’s where “Fast Color”, kicks in those cliched certain authority figures who have become aware of Ruth’s seizures and the effect they have on the planet. They are the typical movie authorities who would like to “bring her in” and keep her in custody so they can put her under the government microscope and see if there’s a way to exploit her mysterious gifts.
Ruth has never seen the upside of the forces within her. Unlike her mother, she’s never been able to “see the colors”, which is achieving an advanced state of using the gift in which one can literally see beautiful colors as she takes control and performs feats such as putting together broken objects. With no place left to turn Ruth would like to reconnect and reconcile with her mother and she’s hoping to get to know her adolescent daughter Lila (Saniyya Sidney “Fences”), whom she hasn’t seen since Lila was just a baby.
Each of them has inherited a magical, mysterious and misunderstood, supernatural gift. Ruth’s mom Bo has spent most of her life as a recluse, keeping her abilities under wraps for fear of persecution from outsiders who won’t understand. While Ruth has never been able to break free to the next level, see the colors and take control of her powers. Lila is brilliant and extraordinarily gifted, but she’s also very young which is why she thinks this family gift is pretty cool.
Having the dynamic of three generations of women, makes for rich dramatic material with each of them within a different perspective. Together they weave love, pain, and magic that is absolutely magnificent to watch. Mbatha-Raw, who has wowed previously with “Belle”, “Beyond The Lights”, and “A Wrinkle In Time”, is a force of nature as Ruth. She throws herself into every moment of the film. Ruth has flashes with rage and shines with hope. Toussaint delivers powerful work proves to be Mbatha-Raw’s perfect match, her voice is velvet, her gaze warm yet stern. Her inner-strength reflected in her character Bo, who brings a striking sincerity to round out this complicated family dynamic.
Working with an economical modest budget, Hart infuses “Fast Color” with a genuinely moving drama, an engrossing supernatural-sci-fi mystery with impressive special effects by Chris LeDoux. Like the Baker Brothers “Kin”, it’s a small but ambitious film. “Fast Color” provides a blueprint for the future of indie sci-fi.
“Fast Color” is a smart film made with care and love. It can be defined as a superhero movie with strong science fiction elements. Harts film is beautiful, moving, moody and atmospheric. “Fast Color” is a subtle superhero movie shrouded in a post-apocalyptic world narrative that is set in an “X-Men: Logan” like universe.
Most of all it’s a celebration of the power of women that is central to what “Fast Color” is about. Also like “Kin”, there is plenty of room for a sequel that can expand and explain so much more. “Fast Color” will hit you with it’s big moments, that bring weight to the films emotional conclusion. I was moved by the film, it’s extraordinary and not to be missed. It’s one of my favorite and best films of the year, “Fast Color” made me see the colors.
(4 & 1/2 out of 5)