With his glowering coal-lump eyes, his big, bulgy cheekbones swathed in the purplest of ruddy skin, Pete Postlethwaite has to have one of the least seductive mugs ever set before a movie camera. Powerful when expressing volcanic rage, as in 1993’s In the Name of the Father, he makes a winningly offbeat romantic hero in Among Giants. Postlethwaite plays Ray, the foreman of a ragtag group of yobs who’ve been employed to paint the high-wire electrical towers that run along several beautiful green miles of the Yorkshire moors. Rachel Griffiths, from Hilary and Jackie, deadpans herself into a squirrelly tomboy as Gerry, the Aussie wanderer who joins the men on the job and drifts into an affair with Ray.
The film was written by Simon Beaufoy, who also traced British working-class follies in The Full Monty, but this time the director, Sam Miller, cuts down on the kitchen-sink coyness. Among Giants feels less like a story than an anecdotal image — it’s in love with the sight of these daredevil proles dangling from their precarious workstations. The movie meanders pleasantly, at least until it tries to squeeze fireworks out of a relationship that never seemed more than a tender caprice. B-