Based on the best selling novel of the same name by Lois Lowry, The Giver is directed by Phillip Noyce (The Bone Collector, Patriot Games) and tells the story of Jonas (Brenton Thwaites – Oculus, Maleficent), a young teenager awaiting news of his fate along with his two friends, Fiona (Odeya Rush – The Odd Life Of Timothy Green, We Are What We Are) and Asher (Cameron Monaghan – Shameless, Vampire Academy).
They have been raised in a seemingly Utopian society, free of all war, crime and disease, but unfortunately also free of colour, love, independence and joy. Upon reaching their milestone birthday, each young adult is assigned the task to which they will devote the remainder of their lives.
No member of society ever questions this, it is simply the order of things as it has always been. However, when Jonas is chosen to be assigned a special position that only one in each generation can hold, his life is about to be turned upside down.
Jonas is named as “The Receiver” and as such he begins his training with “The Giver” (Jeff Bridges – True Grit, Iron Man), the keeper of all the memories of the human race. He has the ability to pass these memories on to the chosen one.
Jonas is about to learn the terrible truth. The world is not black and white, and the drugs which they are told to take to promote health and good living prevent them from seeing colour and from feeling any sort of emotion.
As he sees more and more of the truth about mankind he realises that although war and famine and crime are terrible things, so is the oppression of the human spirit and the unknowing committing of atrocities in the name of peace. It is up to Jonas to decide what to do about it, does he risk everything he and his loved one have in order to save them from themselves?
The Giver has some great performances, including Meryl Streep (August: Osage County) as the Chief Elder and Katie Holmes (Batman Begins) as the long suffering mother of Jonas. Jeff Bridges is of course excellent too, but the main problem with this film is the script. However well acted, it all just sounds silly. It might well look good on paper, but not when you actually hear it all out loud.
There are also a massive number of loopholes in both the concept and the actual story-line, so many in fact that however good you are at suspending disbelief for the purposes of entertainment, they are still impossible to overlook.
All in all, if you can ignore how silly and implausible it all is, then it’s a reasonable way to spend an evening and maybe it will appeal more to fans of the book.
The Giver is available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray from 19th Jan 2015.