The Giver

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(2014) ★★★

Sky Movies Premiere: PREMIERE Friday 19 June, 9.45am and 6.15pm

Brenton Thwaites’ young Jonas has a whale of a task in a ‘brave new world’ – he’s charged with being the Receiver of Memory in an antiseptic, genetically engineered community presided over by chief elder Meryl Streep. The Giver is Jeff Bridges, who looks quite mad after being Memory’s keeper for so long. This is the future, of course. A stage-managed Truman Show world without conflict, pain or suffering. It’s also devoid of colour, music and love. Emotions are medically suppressed, speech is mainly confined to automatic pleasantries. Any deviation from conformity is frowned upon: “Citizens are reminded it is impolite to touch anyone outside their family unit.” Follow the rules, obey the curfew, never lie. Beyond the community’s boundary? A mystery, coyly referred to as ‘elsewhere’. This children’s fantasy (adapted from a book published in 1993) is closer in spirit to the thirst for knowledge in Pleasantville than to the derivative ‘thrills’ of Divergence or The Hunger Games. Unfolding like a superior episode of The Outer Limits, it’s modestly effective and grounded by another appealing performance by the young Australian actor Thwaites. Basically wasted in Maleficent, he served notice of his talent in Oculus. But there’s a slightly unfinished look to The Giver – not simply because the switching between colour and monochrome is so gimmicky, more due to the unimaginative ‘memory’ montages. Clips from Godfrey Reggio’s spiritual travelogues Baraka and Samsara sit uncomfortably in this context. A quick burst of Johnny Winter’s Memory Pain might’ve been more potent. But whatever its faults, it remains curious about ideas and ideals. Which is more than can be said for the likes of Divergent and Insurgent and Allegiant… No, really. The third one’s going to be called Allegiant. And, like the books, it’s going to be in two parts.

Certificate: 12
Duration: 97min

Other Showings Time & Date
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 20 June at 11:45AM
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 20 June at 6:15PM
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 21 June at 8:00AM
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 21 June at 5:15PM
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 22 June at 7:45AM
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 22 June at 6:15PM
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 23 June at 8:00AM
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 23 June at 5:15PM
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 24 June at 7:45AM
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 24 June at 6:15PM
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 25 June at 8:00AM
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 25 June at 4:45PM
Sky Movies Premiere Friday, 26 June at 6:00AM
Sky Movies Premiere Friday, 26 June at 12:00PM