SYNOPSIS: The haunting story of THE GIVER centers on Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), a young man who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Yet as he begins to spend time with The Giver (Jeff Bridges), who is the sole keeper of all the community's memories, Jonas quickly begins to discover the dark and deadly truths of his community's secret past. With this newfound power of knowledge, he realizes that the stakes are higher than imagined - a matter of life and death for himself and those he loves most. At extreme odds, Jonas knows that he must escape their world to protect them all - a challenge that no one has ever succeeded at before. THE GIVER is based on Lois Lowry's beloved young adult novel of the same name, which was the winner the 1994 Newbery Medal and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.
REVIEW: Originally published in 1993 (six years before “The Matrix”), and according to online sources, Lois Lowry’s novel is itself a patchwork of ideas borrowed from Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Jack Finney and Ray Bradbury and their imaginative depiction of totalitarian groupthink masquerading as peaceable utopia. More than that though, is that the obvious fact here is this theatrical effort comes more than twenty years after the book’s first release. The content would have been quite ground breaking and fresh, had the powers to be, made the right decisions to develop the film back then. Unfortunately, at this point, this movie is a class “A” movie with a class “A” concept that simply falls victim to being a bit too late to have the intended effect on audiences. If one has seen, M. Knight Shyamalan’s “The Village” or more recently, the sci-fi flick “Divergent” or any of the likeminded releases, then it totally ruins anything interesting about viewing this flick. No surprises to be had, everything is pretty much predictable from start to finish. It almost appears as though all of the releases with similar concepts over the past twenty-one years have taken a page from this novel.
According to Jeff Bridges in an interview on the red carpet, in bringing the book to the big screen, director Phillip Noyce (Salt, 2010) and screenwriters Michael Mitnick and Robert B. Weide have stayed reasonably faithful to the plot and characters, However, understandably they jettisoned much of the philosophical weight and, perhaps made inevitable concessions to commerce. Bridges himself along with Academy award winner Meryl Streep, Taylor Swift, Katie Holmes and a lineup of fresh talent, all give great performances here. Other than the great lineup of talent, nothing really sets this film apart from any of the more than half dozen movies of the past two decades that have similar themes and plots.
Overall, this could have been a four and a half star flick if audiences were experiencing it twenty years ago, but unfortunately the story and plot is very much a part of a played out genre and regrettably I have to give it a three and a half out of five stars and cannot recommend it for a night out at the movies. This is more of a DVD release or Pay-per-view type of story at this point.
By Movi-Man Stan
MOVIE REVIEWS >>>