Thursday, August 13, 2015

Movie Review #295: "The Gift" (2015)

Movie"The Gift"
Ticket Price: $9.75
Director: Joel Edgerton
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Image Source
Simon (Jason Bateman) and his wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall) have just moved from Chicago to Los Angeles after Simon landed a new job. Simon grew up in a near by community and while shopping for some stuff for the new house they run into a man named Gordo (Joel Edgerton) who went to high school with Simon. Gordo starts to interject himself into their lives offering little gifts and being extremely friendly. When Simon pushes Gordo away, strange things start to happen around the house and Simon's past starts to come back to haunt him. 

There has been a lot of hype surrounding "The Gift," especially since it came out the same weekend as the "Floptastic Four" (seriously, we know you're sick of hearing about how crappy "Fant4stic" is, but we're doing our best to dissuade you from seeing it!!). This is a relatively low budget suspense thriller, and actor Joel Edgerton makes his directorial debut at the helm of this film. What a directorial debut it is, folks! He shows he has a great eye when it comes to the shots he chose to use, framing scenes with an excellent juxtaposition of light, shadowing, and even zooming and use of tight and wide shots. He manages to create a great tension-filled mood throughout the movie, one that kept us on the edge of our seats the entire time. Aside from just directing, Edgerton also stars in the film as Gordo, the would-be antagonist who dominates in his performance and proves himself to be both sinister and sympathetic. But, things aren't so black and white here, as each and every one of the main characters has their own flaws. Jason Bateman plays Simon, who is one of the two main protagonists of the film. The other is his wife Robyn, played by Rebecca Hall. Like we said, despite them both being the protagonists, they are each flawed individuals and neither of them are wholly good people. Simon begins the film as a doting husband, but eventually shows his true colors as a huge asshole and a bully. Is it a compliment to say Bateman plays an asshole extremely, convincingly well? We're not sure, but he portrays Simon so well and with such a conviction, it makes us wonder if he's really a huge jerk in real life. This is the best role we have seen him play since his stint on "Arrested Development." He still manages to keep that sarcastic, condescending attitude he often uses towards comedy, but transfers to a more dramatic film here. Rebecca Hall also puts on an excellent performance. Robyn is a woman with a little bit of a tragic past as she lost a pregnancy. This has made her sink into depression and substance abuse, something she starts to battle with again as her paranoia and doubts about her own marriage grow. Together, we trust in them as a couple, and even as things start to fall apart, we believe it every step of the way. The best thing about this movie is its mood. Talk about tension! Every time Gordo is on screen with Robyn, Simon, or both of them, as audience members, we were nervous and aware that something, anything could happen at the drop of a hat. There are a lot of twists and turns throughout the film as secrets start to unfold about each character's past and present. These twists and turns immerse us wholly in the movie, and we were gripped by the story the whole way through. The last 1/3 of the film is especially strained, due in large part to the aforementioned camera work, as well as a super creepy soundtrack, all leading to a very impactful climax. If you're into psychological thrillers, make sure you give "The Gift" a chance.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!


  1. Oooooo!!! This one sounds so good! I love Bateman!

    1. This movie was an unexpected treat! I highly recommend it!!