Prodigy, Excellent Performances, A Chess Match of Wits
Prodigy Film Details
Writer: Alex Haughey, Brian Vidal
Release Date: 13 March 2018 (USA)
Release Format: VOD
MPAA Rating: 1h 20min
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Running Time: 1h 20min
A psychologist engages a dangerous, young genius in a battle of wits — unaware of the supernatural power the girl possesses, or that her life hangs in the balance.
Mind-blowing, never have I witness a film that seizes my attention from the opening frame. Filmmakers Alex Haughey and Brian Vidal’s Prodigy created an intense film viewing experience. This was not the reaction I was expecting and many audiences will share the same positive sentiment. The creative duo proved that a successful high-tension orchestration does not require a high price tag. Prodigy has a small sized cast and limited visual effects and both worked well toward the production. It is fascinating, the simplicity Haughey and Vidal committed without sacrificing story or quality.
The film had excellent displays of acting. I tend not to use the word excellent as a descriptive but the word applies despite the narrative having a textbook set of personalities. For instance, we had the tough as nails military officer, the compassionate doctor, and a tech geek for comedic relief. Despite the standard strategy, each set of characters felt convincing. It is these strong character-driven presentations that amplify the nature of this film.
For the leads, their presence was more thought out and elaborate. A much-deserved spotlight goes toward Actor Richard Neil and Actress Savannah Liles for their memorable on-screen battles. These were psychological firefights that rival any bullet-flying action film. Their engagement didn’t require firearms, words were the tools of combat in this exchange.
Prodigy is a fine-tuned psychological thriller with science fiction elements. Yet, it is Neil and Liles that invest the drama, thus keeping audiences in awe. Horror, Science Fiction, and Thriller genres carry adult themes, no surprise there. I find the skills needed to play convincing roles in these genres differ from peachy-Dorey Disney themes. For Liles not only does she convey her role, she becomes her role. Her lines are spoken with such eloquence it feels poetic.
There were small infractions to the production, the sole issue I encountered was the claustrophobic tonality presented in the film. It does make sense for the directors to convey this sentiment provided the context of the film. Yet, a breakaway of scenery would have mitigated the stagnation of the depressing ambiance. I felt as if I too were imprisoned in this fictitious military establishment. Another area I had a problem digesting were the flashback scenes. Missing were the wavy video effect to complete its cliché aesthetic. These scenes could have served better use as extended intervals away from the dull confinement.
Prodigy becomes the rare masterpiece in film production with its originality and redefining story structure. In particular, the characters were relatable with focus going toward the leads. Scare factor and practical effects were not part of the cast but audiences will find CGI making a short but unintrusive appearance.
Prodigy lacks a strong impression with its poster art. Casual cinephiles may judge a book by its cover. For those willing to take a gamble, be prepared for a breathtaking psychological excursion. Filmmakers Alex Haughey and Brian Vidal created a sublime work of art, unrivaled in its respected genre. The performances by Actor Richard Neil and Actress Savannah Liles cement the fine caliber Prodigy presents.
Prodigy has a clever way of injecting real circumstances into a fictitious work of art. It is not a conspiracy, rather fact that secret US government experiments involving psychics did occur. These cases may continue to this day but the first confirmed military applications using psychic operatives occurred in the 1940’s. Project Stargate is one case to research, if curious.