Based on Lois Lowry’s bestselling young adult novel, helmed by action director Phillip Noyce (Salt, Sliver), starring the likes of Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges and, er, Taylor Swift, The Giver is another Divergent Twilight Ender’s Game. Introduced as a seemingly perfect society, the world of the film is soon revealed to be an individuality-stomping dystopia. Leading us through is Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), chosen by the Chief Elder (Meryl Streep, rocking a grey wig), to receive the memories of Jeff Bridges’ Giver. Bridges’ elderly Obi Wan teaches of a world before the fascism of ordered perfection, blowing Jonas’s mind with tales of art and freedom.
If you go with the film’s flow, it’s fun enough. Noyce throws in some nice touches, with the world of dull conformity shot in monochrome, before Jonas’ dreams of what was and could be in sparkling Technicolor. As the lead, Thwaites is amiable enough and, aside from Bridges and Streep (both great, as ever), the cast do their best with a script that demands no more than their names appear on the poster. With a screenplay hobbled by some pretty gnarly dialogue and gaping plot holes, it’s not a patch on the engagement offered by the novel.
For a film that looks this good and has all the right star power, disengage your brain and it’s sure to entertain. But (and it’s a big but), compared to the bar set by The Hunger Games, it’s a standard, here we go again, first-movie-in-the-intended-series, tale of teen rebellion.
‘The Giver’ Movie Times