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Summary: In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the “real” world.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 11th September, 2014
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Philip Noyce
Screenwriter: Michael Mitnick, Robert B. Weide, Lois Lowry (book)
Cast: Jeff Bridges (The Giver), Saige Fernandes (Gabriel 6 Months), Katie Holmes (Mother), Alexander Jillings (Gabriel 12 Months), James Jillings (Gabriel 12 Months), Cameron Monaghan (Asher), Thabo Rametsi (Robbie), Odeya Rush (Fiona), Alexander Skarsgard (Father), Jordan Nicholas Smal (Gabriel 3 Months), Meryl Streep (Chief Elder), Renate Stuurman (Dinah), Taylor Swift (Rosemary), Brenton Thwaites (Jonas), Emma Trembly (Lilly)
Runtime: 97 mins
Greg King: You can check out Greg’s The Giver review on www.filmreviews.com.au
The Giver always seemed to be facing an uphill battle to try and impress film fans. I realised that from the moment I was sitting in a cinema and saw the trailer for the film and found myself thinking ‘wow the trailer for Divergent 2 is out already… but hang on where is Shailene Woodley?’ How can any film hope to make an audience for itself when it seems to be telling the same story as the film that had already received criticism for being close to The Hunger Games. The similarities between the films got even closer when I sat down to watch The Giver and realised that even the opening prologue seemed to be describing Divergent as it rambled on about a dystopian society led by elders and kids graduating their studies and then being selected to do various careers based on their personalities etc.
Based on a novel by Lois Lowry The Giver sees three young friends, Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), Fiona (Odeya Rush) and Asher (Cameron Monaghan) graduate from their studies in a futuristic colony run by a Chief Elder (Meryl Streep). On the eve of their graduation the three friends decide on a pact that will see them become lifelong friends and then the next day Asher finds himself becoming a pod pilot and Fiona a nurturer –a role that sees her looking after small babies.
But the future is less clear for young Jonas who finds himself being named as the next Receiver, a task he knows very little about. Soon he finds himself under the guidance of The Giver (Jeff Bridges), a man who holds onto all the memories from before The Fall, no matter how painful they are.
As The Giver begins to educate Jonas on the ways of the world before The Fall Jonas begins to realise that there is a better way to live his life and decides to rebel against the regime something that worries his Father (Alexander Skarsgard) and Mother (Katie Holmes) as they seen previously what can happen when a Receiver goes rogue.
You would think that despite its similarities to other films The Giver would be in pretty good hands with director Philip Noyce at the helm, after all this is the man that has been responsible for films such as Salt, Rabbit Proof Fence and Patriot Games in the past. But here even Noyce struggles with a film that seems to want to tap into the Harry Potter style of filmmaking, with character set-up and a storyline building up to a dramatic action packed third act. It’s not Noyce’s fault though it is clearly the material that he has been given to work with.
What will annoy you most about The Giver is the fact that the film’s story makes no sense at all. If The Elder is so determined to keep the people from knowing about the past then why give the memories to someone new at all, wouldn’t it just be best for the memories to die with The Giver? Then there is also the fact that the screenplay provides very little suspense at all. The ‘memory wiped’ characters been making the characters likable to the audience extremely hard indeed while the dramatic chase at the end never ever becomes anywhere dramatic or suspenseful at all. When it comes to that territory both Divergent and The Hunger Games has The Giver well and truly covered. You would think that the man responsible for Salt should have been able to inject a little more action into the film… but alas no.
The poor script also doesn’t allow for anybody to put in any brilliant acting performances. Jeff Bridges is passable for the frustrated Giver while Brenton Thwaites seems to just breeze through his roles. The one-dimensional characters that litter the film though mean though that the acting talents of the likes of Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard and Katie Holmes are completely wasted though, a shame when you consider the talent at hand there.
Thankfully The Giver was nowhere near as bad as The Host – it’s watchable, but only just. It is the kind of film though that will be ripped to shreds by any young budding screenwriter out there as it’s implausible plot just makes less and less sense as the film plods along. It is little wonder that some countries hid the film away from a majority of reviewers because it is a film that does very little for its audience or cast and is likely to be a film that you forget the instant the credits have rolled.
Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘The Giver′: For our full The Giver review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #96 . You can also read Dave’s The Giver review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.
This week on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Dave, Greg and Nick take a look at new release films ‘The Giver’, ”I Origins,’ ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,’ Night Moves,’ ‘Tarzan,’ and ‘Step Up: All In′ . This episode also contains an interview with Brenton Thwaites, Brit Marling, Megan Fox, Jesse Eisenberg, Briana Evigan, Adam Sevani, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form.
Also make sure you take a listen to see what you need to do to win tickets to see Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.
To listen to the show you can download it for free from our Podcast Channel – Listen/Download here
SON OF A GUN is the debut feature of award-winning Australian director Julius Avery (Jerrycan). A smart edge-of-your-seat heist thriller starring Ewan McGregor (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, The Impossible), and talented newcomer Brenton Thwaites (The Giver, Maleficent), SON OF A GUN will screen in Official Competition at this year’s BFI London Film Festival. This also marks the film’s International Premiere.
Of his film screening at the festival, Avery said, “it is such a proud and exciting moment for everyone involved in SON OF A GUN to be in official competition at a festival as historic and respected as the BFI London Film Festival.”
SON OF A GUN tells the story of a young man who is drawn into the lawless world of a notorious criminal. Serving six months for a minor offence, 19-year-old JR (Thwaites) quickly learns the harsh realities of prison life. After a chance encounter, he finds himself under the watchful eye of the enigmatic Brendan Lynch (McGregor), a calculating crime boss with extensive connections both inside and out. In exchange for protection, JR becomes apprentice to Lynch, and upon release he must orchestrate Lynch’s daring prison escape.
Rewarded for his involvement and with a taste for the high life, JR joins the crew on their next job – a high stakes heist that promises to deliver millions. As he gets sucked deeper into Lynch’s criminal underworld, a tangled, co-dependent relationship develops. While planning the heist, he begins to suspect he is being played. Unsure of whom to trust, JR soon finds himself on a collision course with his mentor in a very dangerous game.
Shot in Perth, Melbourne and Kalgoorlie, SON OF A GUN also stars Alicia Vikander, Matt Nable, Damon Herriman, Tom Budge, Nash Edgerton and Jacek Koman. This taught psychological thriller is Avery’s debut feature. His short film Jerrycan won a Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
The 58th BFI London Film Festival runs from October 8-19, 2014.
Entertainment One Australia will release SON OF A GUN in cinemas nationally on October 16, 2014.