It’s hard to imagine a different world then the one we currently live. Sure every now and then a dream or an epiphany of sorts sparks in our mind but it’s no more than a flicker and then poof, back to reality. The Giver, the highly anticipated adaption of Lois Lowry’s novel, is the first movie in a long while that left me thinking after I left the cinema, even now as I sit writing this review, about the world we live in and the people that affect it day in, day out.
Set in a not so distant dystopian future, we’re immediately introduced to Jonas (our very own Brenton Thwaites) and his seemingly perfect utopia that he lives. A rigid set of rules is kept in place in order to maintain harmony and keep order within the community, enforced by the detached Chief Elder (Meryl Streep). Jonas however has always felt a little different to everyone else. And sure enough come job placement day he is given the honour of becoming the next keeper of memories. He is to receive and learn from memories of days past from The Giver (Jeff Bridges) in order to support the community elders when it comes to making the tough decisions. Once Jonas is awakened to all that has happened and all the possibilities of the world, he makes it his mission to pass the border and remind the community of what the world has to offer, in all its jarring glory.
It must be said first and foremost that the visual imagery of this movie had to be nothing short of perfection if it was to be successful, and it was. The first stanza of the film is shot in black and white, and as Jonas awakens to the wonderment of the world, so too does the colour return to our screens. Each memory in particular was shot so beautifully, and the bombardment of various landscapes, people, animals and the like was presented so flawlessly that you couldn’t help but be in complete awe of the world around us. Apologies if this all sounds very “peace and love man”; but this film honestly evoked such a raw reaction that it would be foolish to not prepare you for a shot straight to the heart and mind, especially towards the end of the film.
Surprisingly, this is the first film that Hollywood heavyweights Streep and Bridges have starred in together, and unsurprisingly it’s nothing short of magic. Each brings their usual brand of charisma to the film, and although I can count the number of scenes they shared on one hand, the energy between them sparks hope that they will share the screen again in years to come. Home grown soap-star-turned-Hollywood-actor Thwaites has been making waves in the acting scene over the past year, and it’s understandable given the thoughtfulness he brings to the lead role. It was in the quieter, wistful scenes that Thwaites really shone, proving that we produce some amazing talent down under.
You won’t be blamed if The Giver reminds you of other teen-based flicks set in the future (I’m looking at you Hunger Games and Divergent), but stick with it. This film takes you on a reflective journey that keeps the mind ticking well after you’ve left the cinema.
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