Film Review : Columbus


Director: Kogonada

12A | 1h 44min | Drama | 5 October 2018 (UK)

RATING: ★★★★☆

I actually caught director Kogonada’s debut feature (he being the same Kogonada well-known to many a film student for his video essays for Criterion) over a year ago at the old Music Box Theatre in Chicago while on vacation. Vacation means taking a break from review writing surely, so my summing up of it will be pretty brief; Kogonada has really crafted an understated and quietly satisfying meditation on how places and constructs - in this case the unique architecture found in the town of Columbus, Indiana (a place I had never even heard of) - can exert a profound and even healing effect on us… if we take the time to look. I like how the director gives the spaces he takes his camera to (take a bow, DP Elisha Christian) time to breathe on screen: this isn't some rushed travelogue. Watching this film, adjusting to its rhythms and letting your eyes find the contours of its interiors and your ears adjust to their acoustics, is like easing down a kind of soothing balm. Stars John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson as two Columbus residents (he’s back temporarily from Korea to sort out his father’s affairs, she’s a soon-to-be college student if she can hold her mother together long enough to feel safe to leave her) who meet by chance and embark on an impromptu architectural tour, make for a curious but affecting double act here, as the time they spend in Columbus helps clear out the debris from their minds and let them start to focus on where their passions should lie. Be prepared to come out of this googling travels costs to Indiana.


Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.