The Gift (2015)

19 Aug

Joel Edgerton makes his directorial debut with the psychological creepout The Gift. Starring Edgerton himself alongside Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall, the film follows a married couple, Simon and Robyn, as they make a chance encounter with Simon’s former classmate Gordo. Eager to win over their friendship, Gordo begins leaving strange, mysteriously-wrapped gifts on the couple’s doorstep. It might seem like a nice gesture, but it’s enough to get Simon riled up about having an outsider bringing up a few skeletons from an unknown shared past. What starts out as a seemingly one-way bromance between old schoolmates soon escalates into a paranoia fuelled, though cliche-ridden final act, wherein Simon decides to take matters into his own hands.

 

Distributor Blumhouse Productions (Paranormal Activity, The Purge) have made a name for themselves by delivering ultra low budget/high concept genre fare for almost a decade now, and make a perfect combo for The Gift. While the film does rely mostly on a been-there-done-that concept, Edgerton seems to feel comfortable in both the acting and directorial camps, and the film flows effortlessly enough from one plot point to the next. Also of note are the surprisingly natural performances. Jason Bateman fits all too easily into his self righteous, pragmatic and emotionally distant character, as does Edgerton playing the self conscious nice-guy turned baddie. However the real standout of the film lies with Rebecca Hall in her portrayal of Robyn, the independent career woman forced to play the negotiator between the stalker and stalked. While at many times the film follows a standard, paint-by-numbers thriller game, Edgerton is familiar enough with the genre to shake up his audience just when things get into familiar territory. Though many will call the final twist overkill (and rightly so), there is a fine line to walk between feeling too manipulative and too trapped in it’s genre.

 

Bottom Line: It’s by no means the David Fincher-esc film it pretends to be, but there is an irresistible charm to this film, and, thanks to some clever screenwriting, The Gift actually adds up to be a lot smarter than the familiar premise would let on.

 

Rating: 7/10 

Film Recipe: One Hour Photo (2006), + Fatal Attraction (1987), + Play Misty For Me (1971) 

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One Response to “The Gift (2015)”

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  1. The Girl on the Train (2016) | A Journey Through Cinema - October 5, 2016

    […] Recipie: One Hour Photo + The Gift + Stir Of Echos + AA […]

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