UK release date: Sep 8 2009

cast list

Greg Kinnear
Rebecca Romjin-Stamos
Robert De Niro
Cameron Bright

directed by
Nick Hamm

Godsend, despite starring Robert De Niro and Oscar nominee Greg Kinnear, received a savage reception from critics and was a box office flop in the United States. Yet it comes from the British director of the entertaining shocker The Hole and is about the topical issue of cloning. So what exactly went wrong?

Paul (Kinnear) and Jessie (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) lead a happy life with their 8 year old son Adam. Their happiness is cut brutally short though in an accident which takes Adam’s life. Distraught and overcome with grief, they are approached by Richard Wells (De Niro) a talented doctor who claims to have perfected the art of cloning. He promises the couple that in exchange for severing all ties with their normal life, they can have their son back. They agree and for eight years everything is fine. However, when Adam crosses the point which he died, things start to get strange…

Godsend squanders its premise almost immediately. The dialogue is poor and the early scenes reek of sugary sentiment. Another main problem is that the actor playing Adam, Cameron Bright, is totally unconvincing in an important role. There are still flashes of promise to begin with, but these soon degenerate.

After the cloning of Adam, the film jumps forward eight years as he begins to have nightmares. For at least ten minutes, it’s unsure where the film is going, but the film soon becomes hopelessly predictable as it lurches into familiar territory. The terrifying’ nightmares aren’t particularly suspenseful and the fraught climax barely involving.

Greg Kinnear delivers a totally bland performance, meaning we care less and less about his plight as the film progresses. Rebecca Romijn-Stamos is mildly better to begin with but descends into tears and screams after long. De Niro subtly underplays/ sleepwalks through the role, depending on your opinion. That is until he hams it up Al Pacino style as it’s revealed how evil’ he is. The fact that the couple couldn’t recognise this earlier is an insult to our intelligence. All he is missing is a cat to stroke while cackling about his plans.

The film is directed in a very cold and detached way, which may look very nice, but it means for a domestic thriller, we feel detached from the action which is a major mistake. All of the originality which provoked the film turns into an overheated Omen clone, without any of the suspense. The film is totally preposterously silly, a quality which can sometimes be overlooked, (compare this with Final Destination for example), but in trash like this it is yet another fault. Ignore this if you can – if we encourage them, they’ll continue to do it.

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