A well written thriller that pulls your attention from the start and doesn’t let it go till the credits roll.
“THE GIFT” is written, directed, produced by, and starring Joel Edgerton as Gordon, an odd man who one day runs into Simon played by Jason Bateman. The two went to high-school so inevitably Simon and his wife Robyn, played by Rebecca Hall invite Gordon over for a dinner to catch up on the last twenty plus years since their school days.
Soon after, Simon and Robyn begin to receive random gifts at their home from Gordon, nicknamed ‘Gordo’ from his classmates. They begin suspect not all is right with ‘Gordo’ as their interactions grow more strange and slowly begin to fit in pieces of the secrets from their school days that Robyn is determined to uncover.
I actually found this film to be highly entertaining. I glanced at the trailer once long before it came out in it did look interesting but it never really stuck in my mind. For Joel Edgerton to come out and serve so many faces to the creation of this film, and to come out with a highly enjoyable result, was amazing. He wrote a well-structured, unique and suspenseful mystery. He also perfectly captured the role of ‘Gordo’ something the success of this film hinged on. Edgerton’s portrayal was eerie, ominous and unpredictable as you could see so much going on in his mind through his expressions alone, regardless of the solid dialogue the filled the screenplay.
Jason Bateman was also very good in this movie. Over his career he has proven himself as a solid comedic actor, and littered among his resume are a small collection of more dramatic performances that show he has some range in acting. Bateman’s portrayal of Simon was a person you could relate to in the first-act and it was captivating to sit back and watch the evolution of his character throughout the film. The character of Simon is a confident, successful family man and it was intriguing as he essentially watches things begin to crumble around him as he loses control of many situations he is accustomed to having a grip on.
While the script may have been Bateman/Edgerton centric, the performance of Rebecca Hall and the depth of her character was a breath of fresh air in a type of film that often leaves a role of this type as under developed and simply just there to fill a cast. I really enjoyed her interactions with both her husband and the character of ‘Gordo’. It may just be me but as the film starts and you see this couple as happy and living a seeming well-off life that something more is going on in her mind. There was the obvious character conflict I will not mention for the sake of spoilers but I can say that it felt like her character, through her actions had small indications things were not all they seemed. It was subtle, but a nice addition in the writing and directing that helped connect the viewer to her actions throughout the rest of the story-line.
I really enjoyed how this story-line structured itself as well. Early on you are given a picture of who is what and how things are and as the movie continues the viewer is slowly given scenarios and situations that lead you towards the truth about things. There is no glaring exposition through dialogue to progress what is happening and how things are changing, instead there are situations that bring a range of emotions which turn out to reveal the truths about the characters through their actions. It clearly shows that Edgerton, when writing this script had a solid theme, with a great closing-act and with those two things he was able to build a tense, mysterious story around it, with strong characters he put thought into developing.
“The Gift” will keep you compelled to see how the characters will wind up and it holds a great amount of unpredictability in a genre of film that often fails to create such. The synopsis will lead you to assume what to expect, but soon you can feel the story veer of the path of normal conventional story telling which was refreshing. Edgerton showed many talents in the creation of this one and the result was in my opinion a surprise hit, and highly recommendable. Whether alone, or sharing a night with a group of friends, this movie will entertain and having you engaging in conversation after. Where some films immediately fall from your mind as soon as the credits roll, this one manages to keep you thinking. If you have not seen “The Gift” yet, do so and enjoy.
– Starring –
Joel Edgerton, Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Allison Tomlin, Tim Griffin, Beau Knapp, Adam Lazarre-White, Wendell Pierce, Busy Philipps
– Directed By –
Time: 108 min
MPAA Rating: R (For language)