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2004 - PG-13 - 102 Mins.
Director: Nick Hamm
Producer: Marc Butan, Cathy Schulman
Written By: Mark Bomback
Starring: Greg Kinnear, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Robert De Niro, Cameron Bright
Review by: Joe Rickey

Cue the theme from 'The Omen.'
After their beloved son is killed in a freak accident, a couple (Greg Kinnear and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos) is bewildered when they are approached by a renegade doctor (Robert De Niro) who tells them of a procedure through which they can bring their son back. Essentially, the procedure is a form of cloning that is able to produce an exact replicate. All seems well until the boy passes the age at which the old boy died; strange events including bizarre nightmares and murderous impulses then start to occur with increasing frequency in ‘Godsend’, a tense and topical thriller featuring good lead performances but hindered by an air of predictability that prevents it from being absolutely terrific.

With ‘Godsend’, director Nick Hamm presents a film replete with atmosphere. Even before the accident occurs and the lives of the characters are changed forever, there is an overwhelming sense of dread hanging in the air like a thick rain mist after a Seattle thunderstorm. The film’s rather bleak color palette of dark, dreary blues and blacks aids the attempt by Hamm to give the film a mood befitting of such a film as this; a sort of techno-thriller crossed with an old-fashioned tale not unlike ‘The Omen’ series of films, which also concerned a dastardly threatening child.

The film also benefits from three lead performances that are consistently effective. Greg Kinnear especially, stands out as the caring father who senses something is amiss with his child, who is quiet and has this blank stare that is nonetheless obliquely ominous and peculiar most of the time. Kinnear has such charisma and a likable persona that one finds it easy to watch him and care about what happens to his character. As his loving wife, Romijn-Stamos, appearing in her second Lions Gate release of the month after ‘The Punisher’, is suitably effective and possesses good chemistry with Kinnear. As the brilliant scientist/doctor with questionable ethics, De Niro is quite good, bringing screen presence and a commanding tone to his scenes. As the cloned child, Cameron Bright doesn’t fare quite as well, perhaps since his character is so one-dimensional for most of the picture that he doesn’t have much of a chance to show emotion beyond a blank stare and a hint of psychotic undertones that are never exaggerated.

The film’s single most debilitating aspect is its predictable nature. The average moviegoer has seen countless films of this type and will see most of the major plot developments coming ahead of time, so that the filmmakers don’t have much they can do to spice things up. Not that Hamm really ever tries. He seems content to let things proceed mostly as we, the audience, expect them to and only really plays with our expectations at the very end of the film.

Overall though, ‘Godsend’ is recommended viewing for fans of thrillers or any member of the cast, especially Kinnear and De Niro, who continue to give solid performances in most every film they appear in; never letting themselves slack off in the hopes of still garnering a paycheck for putting forth the least amount of effort possible like so many actors seem to do these days.
Movie Guru Rating
Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental.
  3.5 out of 5 stars

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