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By Charlie David Page
7th June 2014

"Oh. It's in 3D." A muttering of disappointment from moviegoers at Cremorne's Hayden Orpheum Cinema. Perhaps it's just Sydney North Shore sentiment, or perhaps a broader reflection of filmgoing audiences. 'The Young And Prodigious T.S. Spivet' may not be an action film, but it does truly exemplify how 3D can be used to amplify a story on the big screen.

The story is relatively simple: the young Tecumseh Sparrow Spivet and his family live on a ranch in Montana, and yet T.S. has outgrown his roots. He's developed a revolutionary invention - the holy grail of modern science - and submitted it to the Smithsonian, so T.S. runs away from home to accept a prize the institution has awarded him. He must make the long journey east of his own accord, and convince the Smithsonian a 10-year-old built this ingenious contraption.


Yet the film is not really so simple. It's important to note this is actually a Canadian and French co-production, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet ('Amélie') - which gives you a good idea of the final product. What we have here is an extremely stylised, highly imaginary film; there are spontaneous flashbacks, daydreams and cutaways, generally in for comedic effect. This surrealism is mixed in with some really heavy topics, meaning the film constantly flirts between light and dark.

What we have here is an extremely stylised, highly imaginary film.

The acting here is truly a mixed bag. There are the big names like the glorious Helena Bonham Carter, who plays a mother lost inside her pain, and Judy Davis with an overly hammed-up performance. In the title role, Kyle Catlett largely succeeds in holding the audience's fix, and yet, as can be expected with a child touting scientific jargon, sometimes it's a stretch of the imagination.

This film resides in murky waters - it's a film I enjoyed thoroughly, despite its numerous flaws. 'The Young And Prodigious T.S. Spivet' is far from perfect, yet if you're willing to put aside its problems, there's an enjoyable tale to be told - with the help of some tactfully-utilised technology.

RELEASE DATE: 30/10/2014
RUN TIME: 1h 45m
CAST: Kyle Catlett
Helena Bonham Carter
Callum Keith Rennie
Judy Davis
Robert Maillet
Dominique Pinon
DIRECTOR: Jean-pierre Jeunet
WRITERS: Jean-pierre Jeunet
Guillaume Laurant
PRODUCERS: Frédéric Brillion
Gilles Legrand
SCORE: Denis Sanacore
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