Friday, 19 September 2014

"The Giver" (The Guardian 19/09/14)

The Giver ***
Dir: Phillip Noyce. With: Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep. 97 mins. Cert: 12A

This week’s young adult contender reroutes Divergent via Pleasantville. In a monochrome post-apocalyptic community arranged along comfortingly bland lines by nannying elder Meryl Streep, odd-teen-out Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) lands an apprenticeship with The Giver (Jeff Bridges), a maverick historian-cum-psychic deployed to filter out more colourful memories of the old world and thus keep citizens in blissful ignorance. Jonas’s quest to broach the city limit clunkily labelled “The Boundary of Memory” rushes through terrain The Truman Show explored in greater emotional and philosophical depth, yet much of Phillip Noyce’s film has been conceived with a comparable artistry and attentiveness: one resplendent Turneresque skyline here is more vivid than a half-dozen concrete-grey Hunger Games. It makes for one of this overcrowded field’s stronger entries, refusing to redact entirely the baby-slaying weirdness that permits Lois Lowry’s source novel its multiplicity of grown-up readings: even the designated terminology of “Giver” and “Receiver” carries certain properly adult connotations.

The Giver opens in cinemas nationwide today.

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