NEVERWAS: An Adult 'Terabithia'
WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? If you have never heard of "Neverwas" before, it is because this 2005 movie never was released in cinemas in the US or other major countries despite an accomplished cast. The movie was shown at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival and later released on DVD. If you are wondering why the producers got 'cold feet' about the box-office potential of the movie, it could be due to the whimsical and personal nature of its plot - a sort of adult version of "The Bridge To Terabithia" - sans the imaginary CGI monsters.
Still, "Neverwas" has a few pluses going for it - an impressive cast putting up first class performances, the charm of its small town location, and some twists and surprises. These are actually more than what many so-called blockbusters of today have to offer...
Zachary's dad, we soon learn, was the author of the famous children's book, 'Neverwas', in which young Zachary was featured as the hero of its imaginary kingdom. Further confirmation of his role comes from the schizophrenic Gabriel Finch (Ian McKellen), a reclusive patient who seems to respond only to Zachary. Gabriel, who imagines himself as the king of 'Neverwas', looks upon Zachary as his saviour! Now, is Gabriel for real, or is he really the resident Mad Hatter of Millwood?
Are we watching Zachary's return to his childhood nightmare - or is there really some light at the end of the tunnel? As the pieces slowly fall into place, and fantasy melds with reality, we discover that "Neverwas" is a simple and sometimes touching story about a father's love and hopes for his son.And yes, it is also about a man's version of reality - the one that allows him to see himself in his own light.
THE LOWDOWN: For those who like mind games and fantasy. (Showing at Cathay Damansara PictureHouse)