THE GIVER | DVD REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

In celebration of THE GIVER releasing to DVD in Australia and for the simple fact Brenton Thwaites is so gorgeous and happy to bat for both teams we have partnered with the fine folks at Roadshow Entertainment to giveaway 5x copies of the movie. Revisit, or read for the first time, my review from September and then enter at the bottom. Rock on peeps – JK OUT!

THE GIVER is originally a book series that won a bucket of awards. It is written by Lois Lowry and came out in 1993. Jeff Bridges fell in love with it and has been working to have it made since 1993. There is older test footage he had filmed where the film originally starred his father, Lloyd, as The Giver, and his mother was the Chief Elder. Jeff also produces this film and plays the role originally for his father. It also stars the power house Meryl Streep playing the Chief Elder and Brenton Thwaites stars as Jonas aka The Receiver, Phillip Noyce directs. It is out now with thanks to Roadshow Films and is an incredibly underrated film – I bloody loved it! It runs for 97mins and is rated M.

 

THE GIVER MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
THE GIVER | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY JASON KING 

THE GIVER is a utopian lie. Everything appears remarkably well managed and society is perfectly naive and as it should be, no hatred, no war, not even bad language, if our real society keeps embracing the nanny state on everything then this would be the extreme ideal world to live in, even population control is monitored, judge and juried based on meeting criteria. The problem is they have taken everything joyous and heartfelt out of the world also, everything is literally grey, a daily injection removes all emotions, and blands society down into the true dystopian utopia. In this society there is one person who has the knowledge of the real world, he is known as The Giver, the one person who can advise society on what to and not to do based on history, should the need arise, he is basically a seer and walking encyclopedia.

In this society, on certain life reaching moments, like your 18th birthday, your future is decided by the elders, they have watched and judged you your entire life and know best. On his 18th birthday Jonas is selected to become The Receiver of Knowledge – he is chosen as an honoured person who will receive all the knowledge of the world from The Giver. It is not like the real world where he will study – The Giver has a kind of power of being able to link arms with The Receiver and transfer memories – think like Neo getting that giant rod rammed into his head from THE MATRIX – the information and memories flood into The Receiver.

 

THE GIVER IMAGE
THE GIVER | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | JONAS aka THE RECEIVER (BRENTON THWAITES) and THE GIVER (JEFF BRIDGES)

 

Now I have to get it out of the way, older man, younger guy, called the Giver and the Receiver, I am sorry but my teenage immaturity keeps making me giggle at these titles, surely I am not the only one – was this never even considered? When Jonas says to The Giver “I am the receiver, what does that make you?” and he replies “I am the giver'” I couldn’t help but burst into laughter. OK – that is done with, I shall now be a serious critic, please picture me sitting her at my typewriter in my smoking jacket and black tie, smoking a fine pipe.

I loved most things about this film, it was an intelligent look at dystopian life in a teen film. It was not as marketed as DIVERGENT but a similar story that focuses more on story and a little less on action and romance, very difficult for Jonah to focus on romance when they have no idea what it is, but once he stops taking his meds those good old hormones kick in.

The set of the film is very clinically utopian with a side of Star Trek – it really did remind me of a Star Trek planet that can sometimes look cheaply made but looks functional and very clean. THE GIVER had a little more than just a cheap Trek planet set though, it had a lot of high tech, some beautiful scenery and cinematography and once you meet the Giver there is a blend of old school in with the new.

 

THE GIVER movie image
THE GIVER | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | JONAS aka THE RECEIVER (BRENTON THWAITES)

 

Director Phillip Noyce does not a shit movie make, my favourite film from him is still DEAD CALM, the Australian director is probably best known for CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER, RABBIT PROOF FENCE and PATRIOT GAMES. He is a nuanced director that knows a good story when he sees one and brings it to the screen. His name along with Jeff Bridges would have brought Streep to the film without much negotiation and I am stoked they chose Brenton Thwaites for Jonas. Also an amazing support cast in Alexander Skarsgård and Katie Holmes as Father and Mother, also enjoyed meeting Odeya Rush as Fiona and Cameron Monaghan scares the shit out of me, he is decent as Asher although I have seen in something like a Law and Order or NCIS and he was a pure evil spawn of satan, I just can’t look at him properly any more as he was so good in that character. Also, a special mention to a very small role from Taylor Swift, as Rosemary, THE GIVER’s daughter and past RECEIVER.

Streep and Bridges are two sides of the one coin in the movie. The Giver represents knowledge, history, the old ways and he is very old school gruff like a true Bridges character, the Chief Elder is basically a “utopian/ dystopian” ruler who supports pure communism. In theory communism is a beautiful method but in reality it could never work unless, like in THE GIVER, people had daily injections to remove want and emotion from life. They fight for what is right based on their beliefs.

 

THE GIVER MOVIE IMAGE STREEP
THE GIVER | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | CHIEF ELDER (MERYL STREEP)

 

The use of black and white blending in to colour is visually impressive, especially on the big screen. Everyone in society can only see black and white, except for The Giver, during his training, The Receiver starts to see colours blend in to his black and white and when we get some full colour imagery it really does punch off the screen, having Jonas/ Receiver get his first images flooding into his self in full colour may have had a small tear roll down my cheeks, it was stunning.

Now Thwaites, I have to talk about him. I first saw him in the truly Zeus-awful BLUE LAGOON: THE AWAKENING in 2012 and only watched the show because he was so gorgeous, that was released two years ago and he appears to have gotten younger with time, looking much older in that. He gets auto cred from me and most directors in Hollywood for being an Aussie, his work ethic will be incredibly strong and long working without any whining. He has been onscreen for four years and his climb is astronomical – people have been telling me I have to watch SLIDE, a TV show he was in in 2011 and he also starred as Stu Henderson on HOME AND AWAY for 56 eps. After Oz film SAVE YOUR LEGS, post LAGOON, his resume is thus, OCULUS (amazing!!), THE SIGNAL (amazing!!), MALEFICENT (small role but he was good in it, thought the film was shit but is made squillions) and now this, following up with the stunning looking SON OF A GUN with Ewan McGregor, RIDE with Helen Hunt and Alex Proyas’ GODS OF EGYPT with Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Geoffrey Rush. The guy is on fire and all these films are different in character for him. Mark my words, the kid is gorgeous, the kid can act, the kid has range – HE WILL BECOME HOLLYWOOD ROYALTY and one of our best exports of all time. Just give him time.

 

THE GIVER MOVIE IMAGE
THE GIVER | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | JONAS aka THE RECEIVER (BRENTON THWAITES)

 

NEXT PARAGRAPH CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS

THE GIVER loses points for a couple of things. 1) The sled is incredibly important in the book I keep reading, it’s meaning, while it was a ride and gave great joy and eventually salvation to Jonas, is not explained enough 2) I wanted more out of The Giver (lol, couldn’t help it) – he is a sage, he is like the film’s Dumbledore, so why no fighting for the cause towards the end, he was brutally taken as a hostage by the elders and the “police” but then after sitting in cell for a brief period is sitting in a room discussing the ethics behind life and joy while about to watch an execution, why was there no plan to “lose him to elsewhere.” It was like they wanted to silence him but instead put him in a room for a brief period, this was a letdown. I do understand that he is an intelligent sage who has learned from society’s past but sometimes rebellion requires more than words 3) I failed to understand the boundary, why would all memories and life return to people if Jonas crossed the boundary, this was poorly explained. 4) Asher, maybe it is my viewing history of Asher but I do not buy him as the friend who will forever trust Jonas, I thought his helping towards the end just felt wrong, I picture him more as a “Judas” than an eternal friend, plus he was still on his meds, they were definitely looks of jealousy exclusional building hatred, plus he lied, he is unaware of the concept?

While these grievances are quite large, the film as a whole is executed with style and nuance. I will be buying the books to read so I can discover the meaning of what I missed and to see what happens next. This movie will also make it into the JK Blu Ray library. Get yo butts out to see it.

 

3 and a Half Pops

 

With special thanks to Roadshow Entertainment to win one the 5X DVDs of THE GIVER you need to either like and share/ retweet this post on Facebook/Twitter/ Google+/ Pinterest/ LinkedIn/ Flipboard or Instagram (all the links to follow us are on the top right of homepage), you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer/s to the following questions:

What is your favourite JEFF BRIDGES movie and why? My pick goes to JAGGED EDGE – one of my favourite thrillers of all time. Follow ups would be TRON, and of course, THE BIG LEBOWSKI.

If you do not have social media then get with the times – you can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jking@saltypopcorn.com.au telling me you don’t have social media (you still need to enter on the website).

It is a game of skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels.

The prizes will be sent after JAN 15th! Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.