You Should Discover Fast Color

No one seemed to notice Fast Color at all. It played on something like 25 screens, where it grossed less than $100,000. It got dropped on VOD and streaming services with no fanfare, no advertising, no notice. It almost seems like the studio just dropped this movie out a window and didn’t even watch to see how it landed.

It got very good reviews

I cannot understand why no one cared. 

This is a film with a lot to recommend it to audience. It’s a superhero origin story (and if you hadn’t noticed, superhero stories are kind of a big deal right now.  It is a film centered on women characters, and Hollywood has started to notice that centering a film on strong women can draw a large audience (Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel are two examples of female superhero movies making money). It also features black stars, and again in this moment when studios are starting to think about representation it seems like there should be more room for that sort of thing (even forgetting about Black Panther making approximately the GDP of a medium sized nation at the box office). Fast Color should be of interest to fans of superhero cinema and fans of small, personal drama. Yet, no one even knew that it came out.

Fast Color is a soft apocalypse tale. The world is in the middle of a eight year drought. Civilization is still up and running in at least a limited sense. Water has become very expensive and may be a type of currency in itself.

When the movie opens we meet Ruth (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw) as she escapes from some sort of warehouse and goes on the run. Ruth is being pursued by people who may or may not be government agents of some kind.  She clearly has secrets that she is working to keep hidden and they have something to do with her wounded wrists.

In short order we learn that she suffers from seizures and that those seizures seem to trigger earthquakes.  She has a close call with one of her pursuers, then makes the decision to return to her home.  The scenes leading up to her return to be with her mother Bo (Larraine Toussaint) are tense and gripping.  The production design is wonderful and creates a complete world. We believe that this world is dying of thirst. You can smell it.

When she finally gets home we meet Ruth’s daughter, Lila (Saniyya Sidney) who has been in the care of Bo. It is here that the film really opens up. We begin to learn that Ruth’s seizures (and the quakes they cause) are a symptom of something else. The women in her family have a gift. Maybe it’s magic; maybe it’s explainable via some unknown scientific process. Whatever it is, it is beautiful.  I don’t want to give away exactly what the power is, as discovering that power and its limits is part of the joy of this film.

There is an adventure aspect to the story, but also a mystery. The film ends in such a way to imply a solution to the mystery but not spoon feed it to us. Things remain open to interpretation.

Fast Color is a wonderful and unexpected movie. The small cast is perfect.

You should discover this film. Then you should help other discover it.