Godsend suffers from bad editing. In one pivotal scene, the action changes place and time so dramatically, it seems that an entire chapter was accidentally left at a bus stop. Nonetheless, the basic story, and the issues it raises, make Godsend a thoughtful, if not fully realized, example of bio-future science fiction. It also works pretty well as a gothic thriller.
Paul and Jessie Duncan share a rich life with their young son, Adam. Paul is a dedicated teacher, Jessie a respected photographer. They dote on Adam, who loves them and basks in their care. In a freak accident, Adam is killed and his parents are plunged into unendurable despair. Seemingly out of nowhere, Dr. Richard Wells, a research physician who was once Jessie's professor, approaches them with a Faustian bargain. What he proposes is illegal, unethical and perhaps immoral. He will bring their son back to them via human cloning. He has never actually done the procedure on a human but he is positive that it will work. Against all odds, he convinces Paul and Jessie to take a chance with their dead son's legacy.
A science-fiction thriller only works if it has one foot planted firmly in the real and the possible. If it can be reasonably imagined, it is science-fiction in the best sense: a film that helps explore the technical, ethical and spiritual frontiers of the future. If not, it becomes fluff and nonsense. A treatment of human cloning, and the ethical questions it raises, is certainly timely. Recently a company called Genetic Savings and Clone (Gene Banking and Cloning of Exceptional Pets) publicly offered to clone a favorite cat or dog for a mere $50 thousand. Can children be far behind? Today Lassie, tomorrow a real lassie.
Dr. Leon Kass, chairman of President ...1
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