‘Prodigy’ (2018) | Film Review

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: December 2, 2018
Prodigy 2018 Review


Prodigy is a thought-provoking thriller that builds the tension nicely and gives us a good father-son relationship.

Prodigy is from writer and director Nathan Leon in his feature film debut, starring Cory Kays, Hailey Henry and newcomer Embry Johnson, and is a thriller that will ask the audience: what would you believe?

Prodigy’s story takes us into a world that has experienced two major events, both having been predicted by teenager Caleb (Johnson), who believes another one will occur within the next couple of days; referred to as ‘The Day the Earth Goes Black’, he refuses to say where and when until his estranged father Erik (Kays) visits. When Erik sees his son, the two go on the run with the promise that Erik will learn to understand the message from his own vision during the event. We follow the two as they must learn who to trust, the people that are seeing the good in the moments, and the military forces who believe seeing the future means you can control it.

When it comes to any film that wants to use the story to balance the unknown of a messenger, this will offer the idea of God talking to Caleb, or whether it is an otherworldly being. We know a big event is coming, but we don’t know what, which keeps us wanting to know just what could it be; we have had two events which included a global blackout, where people each had different visions, with some keeping it secret from the rest, much like Flashforward in places. This does show us how different sides would react between knowing what would come from the events and worrying about not knowing what might happen. However, we don’t get the full panic which could easily come from this story, and the end of the film is left feeling slightly anti-climatic because the story focuses more on the journey than what is going to happen.

Prodigy has a performance from Cory Kays which makes us believe that his character goes on a learning curve about parenting and moving on with life; we understand this journey because of his performance. An early performance from Embry Johnson gives us a character that we understand, as he has been isolated from true communication, which shows with the delivery of the predictions. The military figures are solid but where we keep doing the same hiding routine, we don’t get the best glimpses from their performances, and along the way, we get the character that shows both sides of the argument even if they are the generic figures which aren’t hard to perform as.

Prodigy will make you think of Knowing meets Midnight Special; we can see both of these films being borrowed from here. It has hinted ideas of the supernatural, being on the run and a father-son relationship, all of which Midnight Special gave us. The child being the one that could be seeing the end borrows the Knowing formula, minus the mad over-the-top disaster scenes or crazy Nicholas Cage. This is the type of thriller the audience can invest in, which is always going to be the test for any thriller.

Overall this is a smart, thought-provoking thriller that will grab the audience’s attention from early on and make us want to see the event coming.

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