Cela was nearly twenty years ago that Jeff Bridges wanted to adapt the novel by Lois Lowry on the big screen; and, alas, we can say that by leaving now, the film suffers from a direct comparison with the other stories of science fiction and dystopia from literature youth these last few years ( Hunger Games, Divergent and other Labyrinth carving happily the lion’s share at the box-office). Here, we find once again a main character, adolescent, discovering a destiny of the messiah who would lead to call into question all of the rules and the truths established by the society in which he grew up. If at first, The Giver risk to be criticised for the similarity of the ceremony of passage to adulthood and the journey of initiation that follows, with the same triggers for the plot of Divergent, the viewer must not forget that the novel’s original date in 1993, well before the sagas dedicated to teenagers invaded the shelves of bookstores.
However, if the originality of the concept is not to question, I was rather confused in regard to his treatment chosen by Phillip Noyce,a director who is, however, not its first shot. The film has the merit to propose an evolution of the image, emphasizing the learning of Jonah, his hero: in the beginning the black and white expresses the monotony and the fadeur of its existence, and then the gradual appearance of color is by a one-off effect way to Sin City, either by staining a minimum of the whole image, reveals the emotions that are born in the young adult in quest of maturity. A sensible idea, but that alone does suppléait not the lack of inspiration of the narrative.
“The film seems to remain a prisoner until the end of his record for a young audience, thus depriving them of the subtlety that requires yet his narrative.”
The staging could have been used to describe the emotions of Jonah in the first half-hour, and then confusion, followed by her awareness later, if Noyce and his team was able to find some ideas of expressionist and visual metaphors. But The Giver seems to remain a prisoner until the end of his record for a young public, when he supported each revelation of the mentor and makes explicit each of the questioning of the student, at the risk of spoiling any attempt of subtlety. The lack of inspiration is clearly felt when repeat on a music without personality, sequences of a catch-all containing strong images and sensational advertisements for camera or travel agency (you know those montages of moments from the four corners of the world). Believe that the producers felt that a more sensory and more daring, was not accessible to the youngest: amazing no ?
Nothing awkward in the storyline, however, some minor elements (in particular the fate of the new-born and the behaviour of the parents) even bring some credibility to the society in which it lives in the hero, and it is taken quickly enough affection and esteem for this good old Jeff Bridges, whose character seems to be for the shot, inhabited, alive or haunted. But the weakness of the film comes, instead of its too short duration, which does not leave time to a narrative, and a realization more inspired to settle down and compartmentalized the story in a pace that prevents any subtlety. If the whole lets-see-without-leave place for the boredom, nor even the mockery, it is a pity that the precipitation of its history, founded on assumptions of technological plausible (distribution of pills, drones, surveillance, communication through holograms, etc…) gives the impression that its outcome is not, a contrario, that a shortcut mystical; and that the dialogues are too naive and black-and-white do not honor this ambitious concept which should mingle with political reality and philosophical hypothesis. Damage.
• Achievement : Phillip Noyce
• Screenplay : Michael Mitnick, based on the novel by Lois Lowry
• Main actors : Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, Meryl Streep, Odeya Rush, Alexander Skarsgård
• Country of origin : USA
• Output : October 29, 2014
• Duration : 1h37 min
• Distributor : The Weinstein Company, StudioCanal
• Synopsis : In a society where emotions have been removed, and the memories of the past erased, Jonas, a teenager of 16 years is chosen to be the new Ferryman, keeper of memories and emotions…
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