Reviewed bysamgiannnVote: 9/10
The 90's was the golden age of highly stylized stalker thrillers with flicks like Basic Instinct, Single White Female and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, and the actor-turned-director Joel Edgerton hearkens back to those films with his directorial debut The Gift. In The Gift, young charismatic Simon runs into an old high school acquaintance named Gordon, and after a painfully awkward conversation, they go their separate ways. Simon's wife, Robyn, thinks it's just a chance encounters while Simon wants nothing to do with "Gordo the Weirdo." Gordon then slowly starts inserting himself into their lives and brings to light secrets about Simon's life, and Robyn realizes that she doesn't know who her husband really is. The thing that makes The Gift so unpredictable is the ambiguity of the villain. Initially, we think that Gordon is the villain since we seem him suddenly become too clingy and start stalking the couple, but as the plot progresses, Gordon reveals several secrets about Simon that make Simon seem like the true villain. Each secret revealed about Gordon and Simon twists the plot even further but not so much that it causes the film to meander through its story. This is a very controlled movie. None of the suspense comes from big chase sequences or any real action; it's the revelations about the characters that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The Gift is a surprisingly well-crafted and intense thriller film that feels like a throwback to the best 90's stalker flicks.
Reviewed byConnor DillonVote: 8/10
The Gift follows married couple Simon and Robyn who get a unexpected encounter from Gordo, an acquaintance from Simon's past. At first, Simon doesn't recognize Gordo, but after a troubling series of uninvited encounters and mysterious gifts, a horrifying secret emerges. Little do they know that their perfect lives are about to be thrown into a terrifying tailspin.
This film standing as Joel Edgerton's directional debut, I must say is pretty impressive. This was a well crafted thriller put together by Edgerton, it wasn't as predictable as most thrillers are these days, it was simply one where our expectations keep getting pummeled to ground from how the story keeps transitioning.
Everyone in this were simply astonishing, Edgerton played such a compelling creepy loner with so much aplomb, Hall played her role perfectly as a depressed woman that can't stress enough with all the fear and for Bateman, coming from his comedic standpoint, simply impressed as the husband with one troubling past. Round of applause to each and everyone!
The film builds an effective sense of suspense and disbelief, you don't know what to believe from all the turn of events. The story was told so fluently with the suspense, is wasn't cheap or hasty but more chilling and grim when it came to the very well paced manner, it doesn't simply spoonfeed us with everything it's doing but really lets us take the turn for worst with each surprise hiding at each corner.
The Gift was simply a shot in the dark when it let loose from the formulaic genre it was hanging off of. This nerve-wracking thriller maturely sends this main couple spiraling out of control as Edgerton simply starts to turn their life upside down by downgrading their relationship piece by piece. You can never tell who's the main protagonist, Is It Bateman? Is it Hall? Is It Edgerton? You can't really seem to tell until the surprise-filled ending that takes a wonderfully warped take on long-ranged karma. The Gift most certainly gave deliberate pacing, believable characters, and masterful understanding of cinematic suspense, Edgerton really proved that this film shouldn't be the last present we receive from him.
Reviewed bymoviewizguyVote: 8/10
Here's a surprise: The Gift is a mature thriller that's more complex and classy than the trailers suggest. I don't know what caused the marketing department to make the film look like such a second-rate, cheap, predictable thriller that somehow had gotten ahold of talented actors, but now we know the truth. As Joel Edgerton's directorial debut, it's impressive, considering the sense of craft going on behind the camera. The cinematography is gorgeous and the pacing is that of a slow burn, but it's never dull. The premise is also deceptively simple, turning more intricate and involving as the film progresses.
Edgerton, who also wrote the screenplay, refuses to adhere to genre conventions, constantly subverting audience's expectations on how the story plays out. Red herrings, plot twists, shifting perspectives, and moral ambiguity ensue, but they never feel cheap. Like the best thrillers, The Gift evolves naturally and realistically. Edgerton and Rebecca Hall are great, but it is Jason Bateman who impresses. As a natural comedian actor, he plays one of his rare, serious roles to terrific effect. But I digress. You should go into this film with a clean slate, but know that it is a rare, intelligent thriller that doesn't cheat or spoonfeed its audience. And in that regard, Joel Edgerton has given us a gift, indeed.
Simon and Robyn are a young married couple whose life is going just as planned until a chance encounter with an acquaintance from Simon's high school sends their world into a harrowing tailspin. Simon doesn't recognize Gordo at first, but after a series of uninvited encounters and mysterious gifts prove troubling, a horrifying secret from the past is uncovered after more than 20 years. As Robyn learns the unsettling truth about what happened between Simon and Gordo, she starts to question: how well do we really know the people closest to us, and are past bygones ever really bygones?