You’d be forgiven for feeling a little weary with regard to young adult sci-fi literary adaptations making their way to the big screen. While once we were awash with angst-ridden vampires and werewolves, we are now adrift in a sea of teen dystopia, as studios attempt to capitalize on the success of The Hunger Games. But – though films like Ender’s Game, The Host and Divergent are all beginning to blur into one, long hormonal rebellion – don’t turn in your multiplex member’s card just yet. The legendary Jeff Bridges is about to shake things up with The Giver – a sci-fi film that has just debuted a great new trailer.
The Big Lebowski’s very own Dude produces and stars in this adaptation of Lois Lowry’s novel of the same name, which was first published in 1993. It features a young boy named Jonas, who lives in a utopian society, entirely unblemished by sickness, conflict or hardship. As every member of society has a specific role, Jonas finds that he has been selected to be the Receiver Of Memory, and begins to indulge his youthful curiosity by exploring his world more and more. He soon discovers that his seemingly perfect existence is built upon a brittle foundation of horrifying choices made by his forebears, and that a different future is possible for everybody.
With the role of Jonas played by Brenton Thwaites (Oculus, Maleficent), Jeff Bridges co-stars as the mysterious Giver, who bursts the youngster’s bubble by revealing the disturbing truth. Meryl Streep, Odeya Rush, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift also feature in the cast of this production, which is directed by Phillip Noyce (Salt, Clear And Present Danger) and adapted for film by first-time screenwriter Michael Mitnick.
The new trailer for the film – while conforming to the usual over-long format – suggests a drama featuring plenty of action and thrills, underscored by the steady and disturbing realization that the real history of society is actually a terrible, terrible truth to behold. Understandably, the emphasis is on the performances of Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep – and if the film does the same, we should be in for something very special. Bridges owns the screen with his quietly intimidating, yet warm authority, while Streep is his perfect counterpoint – exuding a chilling determination to maintain the status quo, with a barely-contained madness lurking deep behind her piercing eyes. We also get a glimpse of some impressive camera work here, and a hint of some well-crafted dialogue, as the young hero comes to understand the true fragility of his manufactured and limiting community.
The use of Clint Mansell’s composition Lux Aeterna from Requiem For A Dream to bolster the music for the trailer is an interesting choice. The Giver is not released until August 15 2014, at which point we can finally enjoy the real score in full. But including those haunting strings in this preview lends a subtle and unnervingly tense atmosphere to the whole thing – something that will hopefully be reflected in the final film.