Film & DVD Review: Godsend

Director: Nick Hamm
Certificate 15
Running time 102 minutes
UK film theatre general release Friday 2 July

Reviewed by Patrick Harrington

Godsend has an intriguing and thought-provoking basic concept. Greg Kinear and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos play parents who have a great life with their 8-year-old son, Adam (Cameron Bright), who is tragically hit by a car and killed. Robert DeNiro plays a scientist (a fertility and genetics expert) who offers to secretly clone their son to make things the way they were before the accident. We see DeNiro play on the emotions of the grieving parents and he seems to be offering them a second chance. This film obiously picks-up on public fears of cloning and the ‘Brave New World’ we seem to be entering.

All well and good so far but the concept and ethics of cloning could certainly have been examined more at both this stage and through the movie. The film could also have raised the nature or nurture debate – what makes us who we are? It could have also looked at what psychological effects take place if the replacement, in this case Adam 2, discovers he is only a replacement.

For a while, at least, the parents seem to have recreated an idyllic life. Once Adam 2 reaches 8 things start to go wrong. Adam 2 begins having “night terrors” about another boy who’d suffered a similarly unfortunate fate. His behaviour becomes stranger and menacing. Here the film goes into horror/thriller mode. There are some eerie moments involving Adam 2. Bright has a disturbing presence with deep staring grey eyes. Kids turning evil certainly works in horror films – think The Village of the Damned, The Omen, The Good Son etc.

Godsend suffers from poor scripting and could have been much more interesting. It should have taken more time to get us to identify with the original Adam and his parents. It should have delved more deeply into the ethics of cloning. I don’t want to be too critical of this film – it’s a thriller designed to entertain. It has a provocative premise, good performances (particularly by Greg Kinnear) and plays around with your emotions. If you are looking for anything deeper you’ll be disappointed.

Cast List

  • Greg Kinnear … Paul Duncan
  • Rebecca Romijn-Stamos … Jessie Duncan
  • Robert De Niro … Richard Wells
  • Cameron Bright … Adam Duncan
  • Merwin Mondesir … Maurice, Young Thug
  • Sava Drayton … Young Thug #2
  • Jake Simons … Dan Sandler
  • Elle Downs … Clara Sandler
  • Edie Inksetter … Footlocker Cashier
  • Raoul Bhaneja … Samir Miklat
  • Jenny Levine … Sandra Shaw
  • Thomas Chambers … Jordan Shaw
  • Munro Chambers … Max Shaw
  • Jeff Christensen … Hal Shaw
  • Deborah Odell … Tanya
  • Jordan Scherer … Roy Hazen
  • Ingrid Veninger … Mrs. Farr
  • Al Bernstein … Godsend Receptionist
  • Tracey Hoyt … Delivery Nurse
  • Leslie Ann Coles … Patricia Café Owner
  • Christopher Britton … Dr. Lieber
  • Marcia Bennett … Principal Hersch
  • Mari Trainor … Godsend Nurse
  • Ann Holloway … File Clerk
  • Zoie Palmer … Susan Pierce
  • Janet Bailey … Cora Williams
  • Devon Bostick … Zachary Clark Wells
  • Matthew Peart … St. Pius Student
  • Andrew Chalmers … St. Pius Student
  • Sara Tough … St. Pius Student
  • Claire Sheasgreen … St. Pius Student
  • Melanie Tonello … St. Pius Student
  • Matt Robinson … High School Student
  • David Rehder … Mr. Baker
  • Nancy Hochman … Mrs. Baker
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