By Dave B.
In Prodigy (2018, currently on Netflix) Dr. Fonda (Richard Neil) is recruited by a government task force to analyze and possibly help a child that is expressing sociopathic traits. But the child is no “ordinary” troubled youth. Ellie (Savannah Liles) possesses a massive intellect and is feared by everyone at the secret government facility where she is being detained. When Dr. Fonda arrives, he discovers Ellie bound in a straitjacket and learns that he has one day to prove that she possesses human empathy or else she will be dissected so that the government can learn the source of her mysterious powers.
Honestly, I’m not quite sure what to make of Prodigy. It’s a psychological thriller that is noticeably heavier on the psychology than the thrills. Neil and Liles both give strong performances and their interactions are captivating. The movie draws viewers in and they’ll likely find themselves eager to see how things will turn out. Unfortunately, the ending is…ambiguous, at best. I can’t decide if it was trite or overly subtle, but either way, the fact that those are the two likeliest options is why the ending is the weakest part of the film. Why make a movie that succeeds at building tension and interest, only to either cop-out or crap-out on the ending?
Frankly, Prodigy left me feeling a little cheated. For the most part, it succeeds in getting mental and emotional investment from viewers. The tone and pacing are solid and are a fitting complement to the movie’s minimalist setting. But that ending…I’m recommending Prodigy for two reasons. First, I enjoyed most of it and I think that a lot of viewers will enjoy the battle of wits between Dr. Fonda and Ellie. Secondly (and more selfishly), I really, REALLY want to hear what other people think about the ending of the movie. So, check it out and get back to me!
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.