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The Gift

The Gift

Movie
Studio(s): 
Director(s): 
In Theatres: 
Aug 07, 2015
Grade:
B+
Running Time: 
108 minutes

Joel Edgerton is a name we’ve been hearing more and more in the film industry for a while now, although it has mostly been related to him as an actor. whether he’s going toe-to-toe in the ring with Tom Hardy in Warrior or ruling Egypt with an iron fist in Exodus: Gods and Kings. The Gift marks Edgerton’s directorial debut, a psychological thriller he also wrote, produced, and starred in, and it’s as entertaining as it is ambitious.

 

Simon (Jason Bateman) and his wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall) have just moved back to his hometown in California for a new job. While out shopping for their new home, Simon runs into an old high school classmate of his, Gordon (Joel Edgerton) or as everyone calls hims “Gordo.” There’s an uneasiness to their conversation as they quickly catch up. While Simon believes that to be the end of their encounter, Gordo has no problems showing up at their new home with welcome gifts or inviting them out to dinner. What starts out as being overly nice soon begins to develop into something far more creepy.

 

The Gift is disturbing. Edgerton creates a sense of uneasiness throughout the entire, both in his writing and directing and in his character. The first half of the film is very much your standard stalker thriller, with Gordo acting as the creepy guy who is apparently obsessed with Simon and Robyn’s life. They have everything, after all; a nice house, solid job, and they’re trying to start a family. As Simon and Gordo interact more and more, however, it soon becomes apparent that there’s something far more sinister between the two.

 

I don’t want to spoil the many twists and turns of the film, because it’s something you need to watch for yourself. The Gift will have you guessing until the very end. It’s shocking, not just for the sake of shock value, but because of good writing.

 

Initially I was very put-off by Gordo, but as the film goes on you start to sympathize with him. And then you don’t, again. It’s the same with Simon. My feelings towards both of these characters were constantly switching. The only constant is Robyn, who you can’t help but feel sorry for because she’s stuck in the middle of these two. It only makes the fact that she receives the brunt of their feud all the worse.

 

The Gift is a strong directorial debut for Joel Edgerton. Him, Bateman, and Hall deliver excellent performances that pull you out of your comfort zone. It’s one of those films that disturbs you to the core.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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