In my second review of the night, Godsend shows eerily similar qualities and flaws to Taking Lives in that its first two acts are good and the third is anything but.
There is nothing as frustrating as watching a good movie or reading a good book, becoming engrossed in the story and the characters, only to be disappointed by an ending that just isn't right. On the Godsend DVD, four alternate endings are provided, proving that even those behind the camera had no idea how to conclude this otherwise entertaining film.
Greg Kinnear and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos star as parents who suffer a terrible tragedy when their son is hit by a car and killed. Robert DeNiro, playing a research scientist, offers them a solution via cloning - she can give birth to an exact copy of her dead son Adam. They reluctantly give in and several years later things are all great again - that is until he passes the age of his death and starts to go over the deep end.
The performances are all good enough. Romijn-Stamos turns in her best performance to date, and Oscar-winners Kinnear and DeNiro are also satisfactory, though not up to their usual standards. Cameron Bright, who plays Adam, isn't all too convincing as a psychotic child; he isn't nearly as scary as the director was intending him to be.
Much like Taking Lives, Godsend was ravaged by critics and their reviews persuaded me to wait until video, even though I thought the film looked pretty intriguing. Thankfully, Godsend is actually quite good, as long as you don't mind some shaky science. Director Nick Hamm effectively makes the movie pretty scary and tense, which is all I was really looking for. The nightmares that Adam suffers are hair-raising, and I liked Kinnear's reaction to the sudden transformation of his kid; Romijn-Stamos's attempt at being a mother in denial isn't nearly as believable.
Unfortunately, Godsend is good only for so long, and when it falls, it falls far and long. The movie ends terribly, with a very inconclusive and unsatisfying finish that really makes no sense. At the end (SPOILER ALERT), the kid attacks Romijn-Stamos with an axe, but then, unwilling to do away with him, they decide to just move into another house and pretend that nothing is wrong with him (END SPOILER). I didn't understand the rationality of the two lead characters at all; the ending was very, very disappointing.
Luckily, as mentioned earlier, the DVD does provide four alternate endings. The first two are just as bad as the one included in the theatrical release, but Ending #3 is much, much better. It isn't perfect, but wraps up so many more things and is actually much more exciting.
Godsend is entertaining, suspenseful and scary, but the ending really hurts it chances at being anything more than a B-grade thriller.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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