The Gift

Starring: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton
Directed by: Joel Edgerton (written by too)


Brilliant. Really, that’s the review…but that’s too simple an adjective for so smart a suspthrildramrom. Okay, romantic is a lie…but lies are such a big part of The Gift it felt right.

Story goes… Simon (Jason Bateman) and his gal Robyn (Rebecca Hall) have just moved to Los Angeles and are mundanely gathering nesting supplies when an old acquaintance of Simon’s stops to reacquaint himself. This old chum, Gordon (Joel Edgerton) aka Gordo, seems nice enough…

Then slowly the film simmers to a wild bunny-boiling roll, as things go from, “Hmm, that’s a tad off,” to down right skin-crawlingly frightening. See, after the no-big-whoop casual “Hello” from the past, Gordo leaves a gift upon their doorstep, and then ever so oddly, insinuates himself on the scene; semi-stalkeresque style.

You can often cut the tension with a six foot tall bronze egret sculpture. And, as you discover Simon may not be such the swell guy he plays in real life, you also discover, this meek-seeming Gordo is turning out to be more a heat-seeking drone of revenge; albeit he’s got a pretty good reason to hold that decade’s old grudge.

Which brings us to the glorious, “Take a look inside yourself,” point of the film: are you okay with your past deeds? You know, back when you were but some cliche-label in say, high school. Or were you that bully who left a wake of hurt souls in your cowardice? The Gift is gonna scare the bejesus out of you – either way actually. Its scenes are conducted artfully for maximum gottchas. And the music (Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriann) and perfectly effectual frequent lack of it, helps glue you to the screen.

The cast is perfectly placed upon their celluloid Chess board. Jason Batman can always be relied upon to deliver. Jason’s swell on the eyes, that’s a given. He’s the everyday proverbial manly-man gift if you will. But, director Edgerton’s gonna ruin your rosy, "Bet he even cooks great,” view…just warning you.

And Joel Edgerton plays the something’s-just-off Gordo too. It’s a super on-the-edge-of-madness start that crescendos into one of film’s most memorable creeps; there’s even subtle (usually) nods to some other super psycho films enthusiasts are sure to notice.

Meanwhile, it is the lovely Rebecca Hall who is our POV and it works. She is a perfect host for our journey into the obscene.

Finally, huge kudos to The Gift’s superb knowing editing (Luke Doolan). The way a film is sliced and formed can make or break a scene’s power. And, here he shimmied many of The Gift’s greatest dibby-dabs of horror to start as quiet as three-week-old purring kittens gleefully bunny-hopping down a hall. As we gleefully follow, blissfully unaware, they lead us right smack into a gaggle of rabid Rhesus monkeys that spring from behind that perfectly ordinary, yet deceptively designed, mid-century door; terror.

Get this, see this, and share this. If you’re an inspiring filmmaker, watch with its commentary after viewing the first time; great tips on how to let things go in the name of a better film.



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