“Columbus” is the sort of quiet, ruminative indie dramas that will satisfy fans of introspective character studies, but will bore casual viewers to tears. John Cho is terrific as a serious man who finds himself stuck in Columbus, Ohio while his estranged father is in a coma. He strikes up a friendship with a similarly terrific Haley Lu Richardson, a young woman who is eschewing her own future plans to stay near her recovering addict mother. That’s about all there is to the movie, which mostly consists of careful conversations and pregnant silences, but luckily writer-director Kogonada has an appreciation for architecture and frames a number of his shots in tandem with various structures, which gives the movie a distinct visual look. That visual fluidity is one of the film’s chief strengths and often reminded me of “The Apartment” thanks to its similarly central focus on visual structure and order. But really, this is all about Cho, who manages to create a likable character with relatively limited dialogue and studied body language, and he’s a marvel of effective understated acting.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)