theatre / “Brett and Wendy: a love story bound by art”, Sydney Festival, Riverside Theatres, Parramatta, until January 27. Reviewed by HELEN MUSA.
CHAD Hodge’s screenplay adapting a novel by Alexandra Bracken envisages a world in which a strange disease has killed off 98 per cent of America’s children.
The other two per cent have developed superpowers. The adult population has rounded up as many youngsters as possible and locked them in internment camps after classifying them into groups identified by colours.
Every child has to be tested. Those with superior attributes in the red or orange groups are killed without compunction.
At age 16, Ruby’s (Amanda Stenberg) test results are remarkable. The young woman who tested her smuggles her out of the compound and takes her to a forest camp where other teenaged fugitives are giving their adult oppressors a hard time.
And that’s the foundation for what might have been a vigorous futurist movie exploring the conflict that grown-ups have created.
Alas, it descends into a romantic confusion based on Ruby and two cute young guys who recognise how special her powers are. Liam (Harris Dickinson) is a goodie on the side of righteousness. Rob (Mark O’Brien) is not.
So what sensations is director Jennifer Yuh Nelson asking “The Darkest Minds” to lead its audience to expect? A measure of excitement, a dollop of romance, a splash of tension; things that you might expect from so unabashedly fictional and improbable a movie that grown-ups might be forgiven for not believing it.
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