The Gift had a slow and steady marketing campaign and despite never having viewed the trailer the TV spots and positive word of mouth were enough to convince me to choose it over Fantastic Four this weekend. This was the right decision.
PLOT: Simon (Jason Bateman) and his wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall) have recently moved back to Simon’s hometown. A chance meeting with Gordo (Joel Edgerton) an old high friend of Simons leads to a series of uninvited house calls and strange gifts from the slightly odd Gordo. As Robyn gets to know her husband’s former friend she realises that her husband has a dark secret, Gordo isn't happy and bygones may not really be bygones. END PLOT
The Gift is a slow burner with Gordo’s uninvited visits becoming creepier and more intense as the film progresses. The script has plenty of twists and turns although the final gut punching twist does rely too much on chance and coincidental timing. As it's ridiculously well executed it’s easy to forgive.
What makes The Gift such a strong offering is the characters. Gordo is not the typical villain and you do feel a certain amount of sympathy for him whereas Simon becomes the unsympathetic asshole. The characters are all deeply flawed which only adds to the tension as the audience and Robyn don’t know what is going on and who to trust.
There were only three characters of note so The Gift's success relies on the performances of Bateman, Hall and Edgerton. It’s always a pleasure to watch Jason Bateman and his magnificent head of hair and in The Gift he got an opportunity to show a darker side. Rebecca Hall is very good in a role that could easily have been overshadowed by the two male leads and Joel Edgerton’s unblinking Gordo manages to be a sympathetic yet very dangerous character.
The Gift is Edgerton’s directorial debut but you wouldn’t know it as The Gift is a very slick and well produced thriller. It gets 8/10. Hopefully it doesn’t get overshadowed in the summer melee as it is well and truly worth a look in the cinema.