As Joel Edgerton’s first film where he adopts the roles of actor, director and writer, The Gift was sure to be a risky film for him. It’s certainly fair to say he excelled on all three counts . A fantastic first film for him that is sure to draw in the ratings and possibly some awards in the long run. Alongside Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall, Edgerton gave a very polished performance. I would love to say it was my favourite film so far this year, but it does have some Marvel blockbusters to contend with. It is certainly high in my ratings as I’m sure many other viewers will agree.
The plot sees married couple Simon and Robyn (Bateman and Hall) move back to Simon’s home town to get a fresh start from troubles they’ve had elsewhere. They meant Gordo (Edgerton), an old classmate of Simon’s who acts a little too comfortable around the couple, constantly visiting and bringing gifts. Robyn feels Gordo is slightly endearing and maybe misunderstood, but Simon still thinks he is the same Gordo the Weirdo he knew at school. Gordo says to Simon he is happy to “let bygones be bygones” which prompts Robyn to be suspicious at what went on between the two of them at school. The plot is a real suspense builder with certainly a lot of tension and maybe a few jumpy moments to look forward too. I felt that the plot was going to be slight cliched at the start with a glass walled house lending itself to some cheap horror moments. But I was completely wrong, cheap is certainly not the write descriptor for this film.
I feel I should write a gushing paragraph about Edgerton’s ability in the roles in The Gift, I won’t go on for too long. Sometimes when an actor directs and stars the film can become slightly misguided and there is the feeling that a true director didn’t make what you are watching. Edgerton’s directing was deceptively simple and clean, there was no clever shots or messing around with the camera. The film clearly just needed the story to be told, not a cinematic revolution. To see that Edgerton wrote this clever piece should give him all the more credit for this film. Although we shouldn’t skip mentioning Bateman and Hall, two fantastic performances as they convincingly portray the couple with trust issues. Bateman, normally known for low quality comedies such as Identity Thief and Horrible Bosses actually portrayed a character with some emotional depth, which is something worth being credited for.
Overall, a highly recommended watch. More of a psychological thriller than a straight out horror, which the trailer kind of suggests. I would avoid the trailer at all costs, I doubt Edgerton had much of a say in it as it really does not do any justice to the film. Go in without too much prior knowledge and the experience will be a lot more enjoyable.
I feel like I should PRESENT a WELL-WRAPPED gift pun but none seemed good enough for me. My rating is: