Director Phillip Noyce, known for “Rabbit-Proof Fence” and “The Quiet American”, released the public’s first glimpse of his film adaption of literature classic The Giver. This marks his 50th directorial pursuit, and his first movie to be screened in theaters since 2010’s “Salt”, a spy thriller starring Angelina Jolie. His most recent works have been TV movies such as “Americana” and “Mary and Martha”, as well as episodes of TV shows like “Luck” and “Revenge”.
The Giver has been a literary classic since it was published in 1993, finding itself commonly used in English classes in Elementary and Middle schools. The novel takes place in a world where a totalitarian government strictly regulates and controls the lives of its citizens, even going as far as assigning their future careers. Written by Lois Lowry, the book, part dystopian sci-fi part social critique, chronicles 12 year old Jonas’ assigned apprenticeship to a man he knows only as “the giver.” The giver works as a “Receiver of Memories”, a job which requires him to know of and experience the best and worst of society by psychically experiencing memories of mankind so that he can advise the leadership regarding tough decisions that may affect the community. These memories of the past force Jonas to realize that everything is not as happy and perfect as it seems and he becomes unsatisfied with the lifestyle the community forces on its citizens.
Phillip Noyce’s film adaption brings together Oscar winners Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep in the roles of the giver and the chief elder respectively. The cast is also joined by well known actors such as Katie Holmes (Batman Begins) and Alexander Skarsgård (TrueBlood). Other notable names attached to the project include country pop star Taylor Swift and up and comer Brenton Thwaites, also set to appear in this years Snow White re-imagining “Maleficent”. With a cast like this and such a hallowed and thought provoking story to guide it, this production seems to at least have the talent behind it to be a great movie.
The trailer itself has met with much confusion amongst the denizens of various internet forums. The most common criticism directed toward it being that viewers are not entirely sure what the movie is about after having viewed the trailer. This could prove to be a problem for the movie, although one that can be addressed with more trailers before the movies eventual release. For those who have read the novel either in school or on there own, the movie currently appears to stick very close with the source material. But ,unless Noyce intends to bring in crowds simply by people who have read the book bringing their friends, he will have to find a way to clarify the plot to non-readers. Regardless of these potential issues, the trailer shows what looks like a well made movie with a cast that so far seems to keep the spirit of Lowry’s novel intact. However, only time will tell if the movie will prove to be a worthwhile adaption of this classic. The movie opens in theaters Friday, August 15th of this year.
By Austin Hopper