Look who's back with another review. RAMA. I want to thank him again for reviewing the film. Make sure to follow him on Facebook and twitter.
I’ve never read the book yet, so I’m not the millions who say that THE GIVER is one of their childhood favorite but as a movie, I just don’t see anything special about it. The story or the concept may be special and unique or groundbreaking when it first hit the shelves, but to have it now, in a sea of other dystopian utopia formulaic young adult stories like it, THE GIVER just seems too late, too familiar, and too flat, there’s nothing extraordinary about this film, which is heartbreaking considering I’m a huge fan of director Phillip Noyce’s ‘Jack Ryan’ movies and that THE GIVER also showcases such greats as Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, but even they can’t help this ship from sinking.
Brenton Thwaites, Odeya Rush, and Cameron Monaghan play three best friends who are distinctly older than the ages of their characters, they live in a community govern by high ranking officials and elders who make sure that that place has no war, no pain, no suffering, no lies, no popularity contest, no disorder no choice, and every teen is assigned their purpose, so yes, it’s more or less ‘Divergent’ all over again, even though THE GIVER book may have come first.
There is no contest forcing kids to battle each other to the death but just like any of those films, THE GIVER also presents us with a world in which everything is controlled for the sake of peace and harmony… which to me, in and of itself is hilarious, because how is it that you enforce no lying, and yet you allow or justify sanctioned murders?! That’s what all these movies are trying to underline, the idea of double standard that people of authority always seem to have, no matter which way you’d want to reform it.
And of course, you’ll have one young adult who’ll eventually rise or revolt or simply break out and run free. In this case, that man is Jonas, played by Brenton Thwaites who I think is one of today’s most talented rising stars, he just still needs to find that one defining role, which I hope will come to him in the near future, sadly, THE GIVER isn’t it.
From filmmaking standpoint, I think you can appreciate the beauty of its cinematography, how it plays the color and the black-and-white to differentiate the monotony vs. the discovery of all kinds of emotions, and how one slowly takes over the other.
But as far as pace and tone, even I who haven’t read the book, can sense that they fast forward through a lot of stuff. The Giver gives Jonas memories of what once was, and I think the point from which Jonas get struck by the cold hard reality to the point where he runs off, just isn’t explored as well it could be. That right there could be an opportunity for Brenton to floor us, but that opportunity just isn’t there for him to work on. It gets worsen by the film’s anticlimactic and inconclusive ending.
I understand the film’s intention to provoke thoughts, I understand the themes in this film, I understand that the film wants us to wrestle with those themes, but THE GIVER just doesn’t do enough to challenge me, the whole film feels like one ticket to boring lane. One of this year’s sleep inducers.
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