Wednesday, August 12, 2015

[Review] The Gift

I ain't gonna lie... when I saw the trailer for The Gift, I thought it looked like a crappy stalker film, verging on parody and sliding into theaters during the back end of the summer. Thankfully, I was wrong. The Gift is a well-wrought suspense thriller in every sense.

Upper class husband and wife Simon (Jason Bateman) & Robyn (Rebecca Hall) move into a sleek new house (note: the windows are huge) located in the California hills. One day while out shopping, a creeper whom we will get to know as Gordo (played by a perfectly cast Joel Edgerton, who also directs this film) approaches the couple. Turns out, Gordo is someone Simon went to high school with. Shortly after, Gordo begins sending various gifts and shows up to their home unannounced, despite not having been told their address. From here on, we just sit back (or lean forward) and see how all of this escalates.

The story is genuinely unpredictable and it adeptly plays around with expectations. The intrigue is kept at a constant--each new turning point or reveal just propels the mystery even more. Conflict also rises within Simon and Robyn's marriage. Simon wants nothing to with Gordo, while Robyn is willing to give him the benefit out the doubt. Secrets are hidden, and we don't know whether to pity or fear Gordo. The tension is so thick that it actually creates some jump scares.

In some cases with films like these, the path to the end is more interesting than the conclusion, but here the climax still presents something fierce and disturbing that will complicate feelings and possibly rub audiences the wrong way. Anyhow, the film still drives home a not-so-subtle topical message that I'm going to refrain from mentioning for the sake of not spoiling.

The Gift should be commended for containing an original, well-written script. This film isn't a remake or a reboot or a sequel, and it isn't adapted from already existing material (not that that's always a bad thing), so it's certainly a welcomed occasion.

* 8.5/10 *

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