Prodigy follows a child psychologist (Richard Neil) who engages in a battle of wits with a mysterious girl (Savannah Liles) inside a government facility intent on keeping her contained. During their session, the psychologist comes to learn that the child is more than she seems and the situation may be more grave than initially assumed.
I have a special place in my heart for psychological thrillers that have a low-key setting with good acting, writing and plot twists. So, Prodigy was a natural choice for me to try out. A highly intelligent girl with psychic powers has a kid shrink try to unravel her past? Sounds fun.
Unfortunately, the concept is more effective than the execution. The film falls flat with its weak dialogue, poor cinematography, and bland approach to the plot. All of the supporting cast is bland and predictable, like NPCs that have their responses artificially worked out.
The moments inside the room, where most of the film takes place, are decent enough. Still, the banter is cold and the tension feels forced. The progression of the psychological revelations lack impact. Neil and Liles find a way to carry most of these scenes, but you leave unaffected.
Liles isn't the most talented child actress you'll see on film. The bar has been set higher in recent years by the likes of Sennia Nanua from The Girl with All the Gifts and Noah Wiseman from The Babadook. Liles isn't the worst either. The character she plays is incredibly deep, layered, and difficult to pull off. She holds her own, but her shortcomings are apparent because of the structure of the film.
As far as psychological thrillers go, Prodigy falls about 3/4 of the way down list. It's not the bottom, but there are quite a few more movies I'd rather rewatch. There just isn't quite enough to farm from the material and feel worthy of commending.