DVD The Giver: Director Phillip Noyce’s handsomely wrought take on Lois Lowry’s bestseller may have suffered for sins not of its own making. It was yet another in a long line of movies — The Hunger Games, Divergent, Ender’s Game, The Host, How I Live Now — made from novels set in a dystopian future where young people have heroism thrust upon their slim shoulders. So it’s impossible to look at The Giver and not see it as a Frankenstein film of sorts, a collection of cinematic spare parts and young-adult sci-fi cliches.
Yet, taken on its own, it’s a well-made and effectively told morality tale, spiced with some absolutely beautiful moments. It becomes heavy-handed in its third act but even that is not enough to totally undermine its pleasures.
What makes The Giver stand out is how it’s envisioned. Noyce — best known for the likes of Patriot Games, though it’s his smaller movies like Rabbit-Proof Fence that are more emblematic — exhibits a painterly eye as the film moves from stark black-and-white to sepia-shaded tones to joyous color.
There are echoes of such films as Life of Pi and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, two other works where the individual undergoes a journey that makes him see the world in a new, color-saturated and life-affirming way.On DVD and Blu-ray.
— Cary Darling
Also new: The Expendables 3; Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas; November Man; What If; Drunk History Seasons 1 and 2