Gigantic (1999) Poster


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Funny yet awfully sad, Gigantic is never less than enthralling and gut wrenchingly real.
thrillhousevanhouten3 October 2000
At its beginning, Gigantic (English title) seems a fun story of three friends united by their shared interest in girls, cars, and avoiding the responsibilities "the future"will invariably bring. By its end, Gigantic has become one of the most moving and charming films about the ties that bind that I've seen in recent years.

Hamburg, complete with its drab industrial foreshores and sometimes uninviting urban decay, is the setting for Gigantic and is as much as character as the three friends Lloyd, Walter and Rocco. It's no surprise, once we've trawled past the faceless apartment blocks and rusting waterfront sheds, that Lloyd wants out. What is a surprise is that he springs his news on his great friends with no time to prepare them for the shock. He leaves tomorrow, at sunrise.

In spite of their anger, and fear, Walter and Rocco go along with Lloyd's desire to have one great final night together. It begins fervently, excitingly, but as events go awry and daylight slowly inches over the horizon, the crushing reality of what is to follow sets in for the trio, who along the way also pick up their next door neighbour, the gorgeous but self destructive Tesla.

Debut director/writer Sebastian Schipper knows the value of understatement. Instead of stuffing his screenplay full of worthy but dull ruminations on the meaning and importance of friendships, he lets his characters do the talking for him. Boldly, Schipper uses a single, funereal piece of music over and over to signify moments of emotional crisis for his characters. The move is risky but pays dividends - Lloyd, Walter and Rocco don't have to say much to get across what they are really feeling. It's also a testament to the abilities of the actors playing these parts that you feel greatly for their pasts, presents, and especially futures.

The finale of Gigantic is heartbreaking, and deliberately ambiguous. Not only is it the perfect conclusion to the chaotic night before it, which is in itself a metaphor for the inherent turmoil of close friendships, it is enough to make you want to go out and phone every friend you haven't spoken to in years to find out how they are doing. Few films have the ability to move and entertain as well as say something about the pain and joy of simply being alive and knowing other people. Gigantic is one of them. It's a masterpiece.
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choke-on-em19 June 2004
Normally I am not a big fan of German cinema, but every now and then a gem like Lola Rennt or this comes out of nowhere. Unlike anything Hollywood would have done, this does not clutter the story with subplots and just focuses on the three friends' last night together. The music is perfect, as it helps the audience realize the sadness these people must feel, knowing that they will never be together again. The script is very funny, and the direction is perfect, as Schlipper is able to let the story pause and simply film Floyd, Ricco and Walter as they sit in silence. However, somehow the film does not turn into a long-winded cheesefest. Along with Tom Tykwer(I think that's how you spell it) who produced the film, I think Schlipper is a talent to watch, cos, if there's any justice in the world, he will have a bright future. This film rocks.
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Heart as big as a V8 !
Stefan Kloo8 November 2000
I love this movie madly. . I saw it four days ago and it still hasn't let go of me. Floyd, Walter and Ricco have only one last night together to come to terms with the fact that Floyd will ship out on a freighter the next morning. They drift into that bleak Hamburg night like they would on any other, and the mundane becomes suddenly extraordinary as the reality of the impending farewell percolates through their celebration . What they leave behind in the night, is that total abandon you can only afford those few years between being a kid and suddenly being old.

This is one from the heart. It's got everything, the riotous humor and fun of outrunning the crew of an Elvis stuntshow, the tempo and jumpcuts of a strobelight punkclub, a heart as big as the V 8 Walter puts in his Ford Granada and the thrill of a foosball !!

The film reminds us how intoxicating friendship can be and how good it can feel to be that drunk from a toast to a leaving friend. Like the perfect song: happy in its rhythm, sad in its melody. Floyd says early into the film something like" I wish everyone could have his own soundtrack, that there would always be music. So that if you're really down, there would still be the music...and when you're the happiest in your life the record would skip and the moment would never end..." After their last night, when Floyd looks up into the Hamburg sky one last time, the soundtrack to the film DOES skip and captures that perfect moment, the essence of parting, that loss that really isn't and that unbearable inevitability that tomorrow your best friends will be far away.

I can only hope that this total charmer finds a distributor in the U.S.. I'm sure it would find an audience somewhere in the same aisles that loved that "Big Wednesday" coming of age urgency, the tempo and irreverence of "Go", the unpretentious humor of "It's a jungle out there" or " No more Mr. nice guy" and the unspoken loyalty in any of the "Winnetou" movies. As for Sebastian Schipper the Director, whose eloquence in talking about his film ( and cars ) at the German Filmfestival in Los Angeles rivals the ease with which this film speaks to you - In a way I'm already sorry to see him becoming famous. He'll soon join Tom Tykwer as the posterboy for the new german film and I'm afraid he'll lose his genius eye and savant heart much like he lost his enthusiasm for foosball........
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How to say farewell
ChWasser10 October 1999
As Floyd' s probation has expired he's going to leave Hamburg the next day to see the world. So there's only one night left for him to say farewell to his best friends Ricco and Walter. The movie depicts the funny and sad adventures of the trio during that last night involving an argument with some die-hard Elvis fans, the most nerve-racking table-football match in film history and way too much alcohol.

The whole thing is so beautiful in a bittersweet way that you wish the film would go on forever. You want to see more about Ricco's family, about the barflies at Horst's and especially about Telsa, the girl next door (who is played incredibly cute and vulnerable by Julia Hummer in her film debut). But if a film is too short it's always a compliment, not a fault.

Sebastian Schipper in *his* debut as a director really knew what he was doing, although (or because?) he sometimes doesn't play by the established rules. For example he uses refreshingly little dialogue for a german film and he even lets it go on for a few more minutes after the last words have

been said, telling the end just with images. And those images are brilliant since the director of photography was Frank Griebe ("Lola rennt"). IMO the movie gets 9 out of 10.
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The best movie, but maybe not for everyone
helgerabbe11 May 2007
I cannot quite explain it, but this movie is the best I have ever seen in my life. I hate people who say sentences like this. So maybe I have to hate myself. But I have seen many, many movies and very good ones too, but this one got me from the first minute. And after thinking more than one year about it, I still cannot remember a better one.

But please note: 1) This is a German movie, more precisely from northern Germany. Maybe you have to live in this place or you have to know people from this area to understand the movie and its fantastic story and marvelous actors.

2) The movie itself isn't very dramatic, it's easeful and unagitaded. You maybe dislike it, when you love action movies or ribald humor.

3) It's primarily a movie for men. Women may dislike it, because the topics are mainly men-bound (foosball, soccer, cars, music) and the pictured feelings are men-feelings and men trying to cope with them.

4) Real hard men may dislike this movie too, because it's a soft movie (no blood, no boobs, no weapons) showing men trying to cope with their feelings.

When all this doesn't bother you, you may spot one of your all-time favorite.

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A beautiful small movie dealing with some of life's big issues
parkrangerno715 May 2006
The last night together for three friends in Hamburg, before one of them will board a ship to Africa. Crazy, wild, touching. A tribute to their friendship and friendship in general. And a tribute to that unique Northern German city as well. Plus a fantastic soundtrack which adds a lot to the movie: lots of electronic music, some rock, fast, pumping, but also minimal in the lonely moments of the story. Not to forget the great cast of these three unlike friends - and the girl, of course. And, last but not least: A tribute to passion, to what is called "Fernweh" in German, the need to get out of where you are right now and see the whole big world, without - in my impression - forgetting the loneliness that accompanies the traveler who doesn't quite know where he belongs (yet?).

What should I say? It's a wonderful small big movie.
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A-N-N-A-226 January 2001
When I first saw "Absolute Giganten" it instantly became my favourite. I just love this movie. It is wonderfully sad but at the same time it seems to keep a certain happiness that just moves you and makes you feel glad to be alive. Sebastian Schipper has made a beautiful but also very real film with wonderful actors and great music by The Notwist. Directors of the world do me a favour and give me more films like this one!
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a stunning debut by a young new german talent
popjourno28 January 1999
schipper has shown incredible diversity as a budding actor in many of tom tykwer's eclectic and nuanced german films. also had a minor, yet unforgettable, role in anthony minghella's 'the english patient', in the interrogation scene with willem dafoe. 'absolute giganten' marks his brave and confident debut, with superior directional and editing skills. definitely a new german director to keep a watch out for.
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Heart and soul in Hamburg
gigaclaw31 January 2006
I already watched this movie some years ago today I watched it again and I really like this movie. The story tells about 3 friends living in hamburg the night before one of them will go to a ship to Africa and later singapore. It's their last evening they spend together and they have much trouble but fun too. A really nice scene is the kicker-scene where they play against the "snake", a really strange guy who plays kicker very well. This movie got so much emotion and is very funny too, so this proves that there are coming up some good talented directors, producers and actors. I hope to see more movies like this in the future, telling realistic stories from peoples lifes without spending so much money on movies to plaster bad stories. We have that movies from Hollywood all the time so I'm really glad to have movies like this one.

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A must-see!
ken-ji4 June 2000
This film truly is exceptional in many ways. Exceptionally funny, exceptionally touching, melancholy and energetic, set in exceptionally cold ghetto and harbour districts of Hamburg. Three friends, Ricco, Floyd and Walter, live their easy lives there. All three of them are quite different, still tight together by a deep friendship. Although the quarter they live in, the harbour that pulsates continuously, the places they go to, although these all seem very surreal and unpleasant, as if illuminated by cold neon light, one never feels uncomfortable with that - due to the deep sympathy the three friends have for each other. They manage to have fun and analyzing thoughts about their situation at the same time. A film full of contrasts, both in pictures and in moods. A must-see!
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All about friendship
justusdallmer25 January 2002
It does not need many words to show you what friendship is. Just watch this movie. --- Don't search for women here. They only play a small part. But it's enough to fall in love with Julia Hummer. --- Did you ever watch a morning come ? This film does. It changes from black to blue, pink and white.

And: did you notice that the car driver in the beginning (who races against the 3 friends) looks exactly like Harrison Ford ? In AMERICAN GRAFFITI, my other favorite, but many years earlier, another film about friendship, and friends getting older and going apart, Ford played the race driver, too.

The table-soccer game is shot like the pool games in THE COLOR OF MONEY. ABSOLUTE GIGANTEN took the best from the best, and it's already among them.
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"Kult"-Goodie about friends and sayin goodbye ...
ikarus719 September 2002
The plot of "Absolute Giganten" isnt even that interesting. The movie sets either. The thing which makes this movie unforgettable and worth to see it again and again, are the characters, the director could have never find better ones. I really hope that the synchronisation of the dialogues get even the half of the lovely style that is brought by the german characters, beacuse this is what makes me smile, remembering scenes where guys like "Dulle" act. Well-known actors would never have this genious individual style of laughing, screaming, talking. The tragic, melancholic style gives a perfect view which beauty lies in Hamburg in the early morning, driving around with your best friends, knowing that these times will be over soon. Highly-Highly recommended.
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Gigantic? Absolutely not, but nevertheless enjoyable...
unserebienemaja16 January 2007
Sebastian Schipper's debut-film is a nice little movie about some big issues, about friendship and about leaving friends. It's one of the flicks showing that it's possible to compensate a lack of big money through passion. Schipper tells the story of three friends and their last night together as one of them (Floyd) feels he have to leave town the next morning – probably forever. They decide to make the best out of it in nightly Hamburg... I think this movie is mostly focused on it's characters and on it atmosphere. The cinematography (everything looks a little bit cold) and the great soundtrack (mostly provided by Germany indie-heroes „The Notwist") just support that atmosphere, which is kind of melancholic, not in a depressing but in a humorous way. The main characters are likable, the viewer can relate to them within a few minutes, even though only very basic informations concerning their backgrounds are given. That's also because one of the strong points of the film is the cast, there's a great chemistry between the main actors and they are able to transport a lot not only by words, but also by gestures and looks. So, as opposite to most other German films, not everything has to be discussed, some things just stay unsaid. So, don't expect impressing photography or any outstanding direction but if you're interested in sometimes sad sometimes funny 80 minutes, give it a try.
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absolute gigantisch!
absalem23 May 2006
what shall i say what hasn't been said so far. "absolute Giganten" is one of my all-time favorite flicks. This movie has everything, it deals with great friendship, melancholy, a lot of fun, tragic and love. The imagery is beautiful, the spare dialogues rock. Its set in Hamburg, and i can't imagine any other place that would have worked out that well with the plot and the feeling. Great actors as well, "DULLE, DULLE, DULLE" ;)

I envy all the people who haven't seen it so far, because they can experience it the first time. So go and watch it.

p.s. on october,26 2006 schippers second movie will hit the screen - "Ein Freund von mir"
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Last night in Hamburg
Horst_In_Translation25 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"Absolute Giganten" is one of the best examples of "Neuer Deutscher Film". It's wild, has a mostly young cast and feels like permanently in motion. In the film's center are three young men, one of whom is going to leave for Africa in the morning (as we find out 20 minutes into the film). So the trio spends a final night together and meets all kinds of strangely fascinating characters on their journey. The film is written and directed by Sebastian Schipper, his first of so far 4 works. Over 15 years ago, when this was made, Schipper was roughly 30 years old. He is also a pretty prolific actor and, aside from being a current "Tatort" detective, his 2 most known films with regard to performing are "Lola rennt" and Best Picture Academy Award winner "The English Patient". Actually younger than him in this film here were all 3 lead actors and Julia Hummer, who was only 18 when "Absolute Giganten" was made, her first project. This film and a couple more afterward propelled her into the list of most promising young actresses from Germany. Unfortunately, she has not worked too much in the last 10 years or in not too known projects, so not too many remember her.

Another notable thing about the film is its runtime. You hardly find any film today which runs for only 70 minutes (not counting the credits). Also the title does not bear much connection to the story and sounds a bit random. Florian Lukas is the one from the trio who got most awards recognition for its performance, maybe because he was the loudest and most in-your-face from the three. Monot's (still beardless) and Giering's (tragically dead from alcohol poisoning now) characters seem slightly similar actually. Lukas' most known work so far is Good Bye Lenin!. He won a German Film Award for that. Monot's is "Das Experiment" and Giering's is probably "Funny Games" two years before "Absolute Giganten". Funnily enough, all three of them were only supporting characters to more famous German actors in these films (Brühl, Bleibtreu, Mühe).

The German Film Awards honored this movie as the 2nd best of the year behind Oskar Roehler's "Die Unberührbare" featuring Hannelore Elsner in the lead role. A deserved honor. I enjoyed watching this film and its strength is certainly its writing, not necessarily all the dialogs, but the action here feels very fresh and authentic. There are really not many moments that felt predictable. One would be the goalie goal during the table football game. But that is just a very minor criticism. Recommended.
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Maybe I just didn't get it
flugscheibenwerfer14 October 2006
I really liked what I had heard of this movie and wanted to watch it for a long time. Now I finally got around to it and I was very disappointed. I still think this could have been a really nice movie and it had it's moments. But the dialog and some of the characters were just embarrassingly bad. The main character was very good and the two friends were OK, too (although I couldn't really stand Ricco) but most of the other characters were just completely unreal (or maybe I just don't know this world).

Don't think that I just don't like this movie because I'm used to Hollywood. My favorite movie is Lichter which is similar in mood and the way it is made but just a hundred times better.
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Larger than life
Jan-3212 October 1999
I've just seen "Absolute Giganten" aka Gigantics yesterday. And I was stoked. A beautiful portrait of Hamburg and its silent heroes. Thank god Schipper didn't use any St.Pauli-cliches to make this movie even more "Hamburgish". I especially like the mixture of melancholy and a certain "live your life"-attitude. Absolute Giganten is the story of a night that is so ordinary and because of that so honestly that you're going to enjoy every minute of it. The three main characters are doing a great job especially Florian Lukas as Ricco. The table soccer scene is awesome shot. But my favorite scene is the one at this Elvis' stunt show place when Ricco shouts "Da geht einiges!". You need more good reasons to watch Absolute Giganten? There you go: German rapper Marcnesium from "5 Sterne Deluxe" has a cameo as "Rastaman". After the film you should stay in your seats because right in the middle of the end credits "Das Bo" is announcing the title track of the film following his announcement: "Wer hätte das gedacht" from Falkadelic (Doppelkopf), Das Bo (5 Sterne) & Ferris MC aka Fertich MC aka Marilyn Mongo.
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Maybe I Have Prematurely Turned Into A Cynical Old Fart ...
Karl Self6 May 2002
Warning: Spoilers
... but I simply wasn't so taken by Absolute Giganten. True, it's a likeable movie, I didn't regret watching it, but I simply wasn't swept away by it either.

The story (MINOR SPOILERS): three friends and their stylish '74 Ford Granada spend their last night together before one of them embarks on a ship (as if it wasn't the late 1990ies but around 1950 ...) -- and basically the director takes it from there. The trio have a few big city adventures, there is lotsa emotion, some lovelorn craving the pretty girl on the block, and some drugs are involved which leads to the generic 7 - minutes - in - intensive - care scene and makes everyone realize the fragility of life, or something.

I still could have liked this flick if it wasn't for the dialogue ... in the final scene the sunrise finds the three friends and the pretty girl sitting around their wrecked Granada and Floyd's (Frank Giering) voice from the off tells us how he was once watching the fireworks as a little kid, and his mum gave him a sparkler, and the firework was so big and he felt so small and the sparkler was so small as well, and there is supposed to be some deep, heartfelt, meaningful message hidden in his narrative but I seem to have missed it.

I see Absolute Giganten as the type of beginner's movie where the director gets a chance to hone his skills before moving on to more challenging material, and the audience gets to watch a pretty plain but enjoyable story. It's a fair deal, as long as you are not expecting the German answer to "Giant".
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End of times...
Luke Joplin3 December 2006
After reading the raving reviews on this board, I was expecting to see I worthy piece of film-making. Unfortunately, it's nowhere near it. In fact, it was one of the drabbest, most worthless piece of junk I've seen for a long time. The director introduces us to three close friends, and the commotion the departure of one of them causes in the other two. To celebrate their last night, they find nothing better to do than to mess with an Elvis stunt group and play foosball. And that is the whole film, believe me. First of all, it should be a film from the heart, but where is the heart? We don't see it, or feel it... We don't care about these people, because, in fact, we don't know them. The director doesn't allow our knowledge. All we know is that they are a group of white trash, wandering about Hamburg. The reason and background for their deep friendship? We aren't allowed to have a glimpse of it, neither... For a simple comparison, see Fellini's I Vitelloni. See how the master manages to introduce his characters to us, and in the end we almost become friends with them. Seeing a movie like this, I think of the hungry children in Africa... The money spent on this trash would certainly serve them well... In short: don't waste your time. Time is the most precious thing on Earth. Do you want to see some 20 minutes of foosball playing on screen? Go and play foosball for real! It's more fun, I assure you! Why the summary "End of times...". I can't help it... When such a large group of people thinks this film is a masterpiece, it must be the end of time, when pure trash is taken for great art. Shame!
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