Review: The Gift Features Great Suspense And Thrills
Title: The Gift
Director: Joel Edgerton
Screenwriter: Joel Edgerton
Principal Cast: Joel Edgerton, Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, David Denman, and Allison Tolman
Summary: A young married couple’s lives are thrown into a harrowing tailspin when an acquaintance from the husband’s past brings mysterious gifts and a horrifying secret to light after more than 20 years.
I often say that the best time you can have at the movies is if you go in without any idea what you’re seeing. The less expectations riding on the experience the better. I knew so little about The Gift that it wasn’t until I got to the screening that I realized it was a thriller and not a horror movie. I enjoy suspense, when it is done right, but I had almost no idea what I was getting into aside from the tiny boxes that the studio rep gave everyone before the screening.
The Gift manages to take all of the expectations you have for a thriller and turn them completely on its head to reveal a unique and engaging product.
This is going to be a very hard movie for me to review, much in the way of a comedy in that if I describe the jokes then I’m spoiling the movie. In this case if I talk about the plot of The Gift I might give something away and that is just a crime. This is a movie that you should go in without seeing any trailers, don’t look up anything and avoid most reviews. If someone tries to spoil this movie for you kick them in the shins. What I will say is that this movie kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire duration. As soon as I thought the plot was going in a certain direction it went another way. When I thought I had the ending figured out it completely threw me off. There is not a moment in this movie where what I thought was going on was right and I loved every time that I was proven wrong.
A good thriller comes down to atmosphere, and Gordo (Joel Edgerton) does a great job. He comes across as just a little off. He’s not creepy or sinister in an outright way but there is enough subtlety to the performance that he sets your teeth on edge. That combined with Robyn’s (Rebecca Hall) slowly developing paranoia and the large, open nature of the house they live in, no corner feels safe for any of the characters. Hall does a great job capturing the essence of a woman stuck in an extremely unsafe and possibly troubling situation. She gets back-up from Simon (Jason Bateman) as her husband who thinks that his wife is overthinking things, but also senses the danger that Gordo and his gifts have.
I know that I’m being very vague here but this is one of those times when I feel like you need to trust me when I say that The Gift is great. I wouldn’t want this movie spoiled for me and I don’t want to be the one to spoil it for you. There is quite a bit of language but the violence is subtle, so for an R rating you don’t need to worry about gore. The R is language and “unsettling themes” which I don’t want to elaborate on. The “surprises” took me by surprise and the tension worked in that loud noises and sudden movements made me jump more than any horror movie that I’ve seen in a long time. I felt more unease during The Gift than any slasher I’ve seen this year.
The Gift is one of the great thrillers to come along this year. It is bound to get buried under the other new releases of the week and the various summer blockbuster,s but I assure you that if you’re looking for a good movie this weekend absolutely check out The Gift. I’m not just saying that because they gave me chocolate, either, in my little gift box.