FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Tonight I saw “The Gift,” which stars Rebecca Hall (Iron Man 3, The Town), Jason Bateman (Arrested Development [TV series], Identity Thief), and Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby , Warrior). It is both written and directed by Joel Edgerton. When Simon (Bateman) and Robyn (Hall) move into a new neighborhood, they run into one of Simon’s old high school friends named Gordon (Edgerton). After this encounter, Gordon, or “Gordo” as called by Simon, begins to frequently stop by their house, leaving gifts on their front doorstep. What would seem like a nice gesture begins to get out of hand as Simon and Robyn find themselves in a tense situation with a man who won’t leave them alone.
Being written, directed, and acted by Joel Edgerton, I was a little skeptical as to how he could pull it off. He’s a fantastic actor and I have seen him in a couple of films, but I have never seen a movie directed or written by him. It’s a lot to handle when you have to focus on a right shot while thinking of the script being consistent and your acting working with the scene. But, Edgerton eased my doubts, because this was a great release. The first pro I want to touch up on is the story. This thing had me for a loop towards the end. During the first half, I thought of this movie as a typical “creepy guy stalks family and they have to get rid of him” plot, but once we got further into the runtime, the story became something else. To say it would be a spoiler, so I’ll leave that up to you to watch. I thought the story in the first place was good enough, but whenever they added on this layer, it got immensely better. It became something I haven’t seen before. Another thing that is great about this movie is the directing. Joel Edgerton was a master in this. Sure, some angles can bring about predictability (which is a minor con), but they are suspenseful nonetheless. I was startled twice during this film because of the suspense. Other little directing angles hinted at certain things to bring up in the story, like when the camera caught Simon writing on the board of something to be brought up later, but yet the angle didn’t make it obnoxious. It was something that came very subtle. The acting in this picture was great all around, with Rebecca Hall being the best performance of the whole thing. She performed fantastically in her role and I could feel the tension through her. Jason Bateman did a great job, and he did better than any role I’ve seen him in. The role consumed him, and I saw more of a character than Bateman, which was great. Finally, Joel Edgerton’s acting was awesome, and to think he was directing at the same time blows my mind. He added an eerie sense to the film and gave his character life. What made this movie so great was the fact that it is complex. Several things happen that teeter the viewer on two different sides, both of which you only understand when watching. Once the third act arrives, the truth is revealed and even more layers peel back. It’s like a gift, if you like puns. When the ending arrived, I was shocked and angry. Shocked because I never saw that type of ending coming and angry because of the huge door that was left open. No, there isn’t going to be a sequel (at least I hope not), but what this ending does is crawl into your head and drives you crazy because you want to know the truth. It’s one of those “maybe or maybe not” situations, without spoiling. This could be a con, but then again it’s some of the best writing to use in this sense with how the characters ended up. It gave a solution while creating a question. One thing I did mention before that I will say now to be an issue is that some camera shots make scenes predictable. Like how the camera will swivel to the right to follow one person, letting you know it’ll swivel back to the left, showing something that is supposed to make you jump. I know what is going to happen, but at the same time it still makes me jumpy. This is a film that gets in your head. It’s a puzzle and once you figure it out by the end, you don’t know whether to like it or not. I liked it for its twist and for its resolution for one character. I like being caught off guard and this one supplied. Other than the certain camera angles, there isn’t much else to hate on. This was a great picture that I could pick apart and take seriously and it provides great intensity to keep the viewer on edge. I recommend anyone to check it out! FINAL SCORE: 92%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: