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 Godsend
 Critic's Rating
   [C-]
 Date Posted
   19th August, 2004
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Cast: Robert De Niro, Greg Kinnear, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos
Director: Nick Hamm

You would have thought, that a subject as paramount as the phenomenal science of cloning, would have been the perfect front for a no holds barred, exposing revelation of the titanic consequences that could materialize off it. Further more, the complexity of such an issue, that could potentially have a morality altering impact, provides the perfect catylyst for some engaging insight, while simaltaneously stressing on the moral and ethical transgressions, that beckon a debate. Unfortunately, the Nick Hamm directed Godsend, seems content to stagger through the well trodden path of a repetitous cinematic horror flick, rather than stick to the shuddersome reality which the given matter presents on a silver platter. The concept of the film was largely innovative, and promised to be a fascinating watch, but when digressed in the nature it did, it emerges as yet another cliché-ridden travesty.

Starring Greg Kinnear and the glamourous Rebbeca Romjin-Stamos, the story begins by introducing us to Paul (Kinnear), and Jessie (Romjin-Stamos), a happily married and successful couple who perpetually dote on their young eight year old son, Adam ( played by Cameron Bright). Together, they are picturesque of what a contented and close knit family might be, in this day and age. Their joyous times however, do not last long, as Adam is tragically run down a mere day after his eighth birthday, leaving his parents horribly devasted and vulnerable. It is this vulnerbality, that causes the entrance of an ingenious but sleazy old college professor of Jessie's, Dr. Richard Wells (Robert De Niro), whose sole lifelong ambition had been, to create a cloned human being. Wells seizes on the moment and circumstance, to cajole the couple into an experiment that requires the casting aside of all morals and ethics, in order to overcome their loss while falling victim to the evils of modern day science. Reluctantly and out of emotional compulsion, they accept Dr. Wells' proposition and relocate to the sedate little town of Vermont, which serves as an apt residence for Well's clinic, namely the Godsend Institute. The cloning is a success, and things are seemingly restored to their former state, to the delight of the once distraught couple. Or so it seems. The cloned Adam, under the watchful eye of Dr. Wells, grows in much the same manner as his orginal form, until he surpasses his predecessor's age. This is where things go awry. Haunting visions of terrible acts, engulf his thoughts, and brainwash him to the extent of enacting those atrocities himself, in much the same fashion as that of his nightmarish character, a boy named Zachery. Adam's peculiar and bizzare behaviour baffle and concern his parents but not Dr. Wells, which causes Paul and Jessie to question Wells' motives. The climax might be considered a tad unconvential, but sadly, neither original nor entirely gripping.

Greg Kinnear puts in a stellar performance, which proves how versatile and underrated he is, as an actor. Romjin-Stamos was average as a distressed mother, mildly coming of age, but not quite there yet. Her character might have been diminished due to it's flickering indifference which seems exagerrated at times, but she comes off as acceptable, all the same. De Niro shows why he should abandon his quest for a decent comedic status, as he holds forte in a film, where the scope for it's primary characters is of little or no substance. Cameron Bright starts off as an adorable young lad, but the script yet again ruins the character rather abrubtly, with Bright barely having to shift an expression as the cloned Adam, and hence losing the flow and balance of his character.

Nick Hamm ensures a vivid potrayal of the flashbacks and recurring nightmares, but ultimately, it isn't something we have'nt seen before and hence, fails to ruffle any feathers. Further more, the scenes are reconstructed rather repeatedly, causing the element to be overused and therefore branded as flavourless.

In the end, the script or lack of it thereof, destroys a thoroughly rational idea, evokes none of the controversy that a subject of such proportion, should have garnered, and eventually potrays a stagnant and misleading piece of tasteless cinema, doomed to gather dust on the shelves of video rental stores, in the years to come. Godsend will always be remembered as a gift of a concept, which lamentably, was left to deteriorate. - Abhishek Dey

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