August 13, 2015 at 12:45 pm #191564
‘The Gift’ is a psychological thriller written by, directed by, and co-starring Joel Edgerton. It is the first release from STX Entertainment, and it was a big success this past weekend at the box office earning $11.9 million, more than expected, against a $5 million budget. It has also been widely praised by critics with a 93% fresh rating on RottenTomatoes. I saw ‘The Gift’ yesterday, and it was a great, slow building thriller, excellently directed by Edgerton from his own really sharp script. It stars an excellent Rebecca Hall and a never better Jason Bateman as a married couple moving back to Bateman’s home town where he runs into a man that he barely remembers from high school named Gordo (Edgerton), and when Gordo starts getting too clingy, it becomes clear that there is something more going on and he and Bateman have a history… I was very surprised by this one, it has some truly unexpected twists, and it really takes it’s time building the tension by letting you see the secret pain, anger, regret in each of the three lead characters. The whole cast is great here. Edgerton makes Gordo awkward and creepy, yet sympathetic- he’s not a total creeper, he’s a human being that you find yourself questioning as the movie goes on and new layers are pulled back. Rebecca Hall, an underrated actress, is terrific as Robyn, a hard-working woman who has a hidden pain that is teased out over the course of the film. She wants to see the kindness in Gordo, and she’s reluctant to label him a weirdo when he first shows up unannounced. In many ways, Hall is the true lead of the film. As her husband Simon, Jason Bateman has never been better as a successful man starting a new job and moving into a new house hoping to make a family with his beautiful wife. Bateman is a talented actor, especially at comedy, but this shows that he is totally capable of stripping that away and going into darker more dramatic territory. He blew me away. I highly recommend this one, especially over crap like the new ‘Fantastic Four’.August 13, 2015 at 9:14 pm #191566
I had no intentions of seeing this. I knew little to nothing about it. I thought it would get squashed in early August by the summer blockbusters, sequels, reboots, etc. But man was I wrong.
After the atrocious reviews and controversy surrounding Fantastic Four, I decided to put it off and wait for cable. So instead, I went to see The Gift. Excellent made film. It’s an obvious passion project for Edgerton considering he’s writer, director, and co-lead. I was extremely impressed with him in all three components.
What a great turn from Jason Bateman, who gets the opportunity to show a side of his acting that we have never seen. That in itself was a gift. And hopefully this reminds filmmakers that Rebecca Hall is still out there and should be a household name by now.August 20, 2015 at 12:08 pm #191567
I was The Gift last week and was thoroughly impressed. Kudos to Edgerton for proving to be a real triple threat with this film! It was very well structured and plotted, and the writing and direction wisely played with overworn tropes of the thriller genre to great results. Edgerton and especially Jason Bateman deliver terrific performances. I was not won over by Rebecca Hall, but I’m not entirely sure if it was her performance that I was averse to, or the too-stilted nature of the character. It was nice to see Allison Tolman and Wendell Pierce pop up in small cameos, too, amongst others. I was also at first totally underwhelmed by the generic title and how it so superficially described the film, but the big reveal at the end really instilled the required emphasis that the titular gift needed!
Funny, Gone_Guy, I was with a group of four friends when I saw this: two wanted to see The Gift, and two wanted to see Fantastic Four because they thought this movie would be too scary. I pondered my decision for longer than I should have, but am so very glad I made the choice I did.
Formerly known as PianoMann.September 7, 2015 at 8:36 am #191568
I finally got to see The Gift, and it was superb. It felt like a classic Hitchcock film, with all the suspense, character twists and pacing characteristics. I hope this film gets widely seen, because Edgerton really proved his capability as a director, and I want to see him do more. I suspect this will actually end up on my year-end top 10 list, because it’s currently near the top. I absolutely loved it.November 2, 2015 at 4:29 pm #191569
“Triple threat”? Do not forget that Joel Edgerton was also producer in addition to writer, director and actor on this film. I look forward to him getting his due when the DGA nominates him for their inaugural first-timer award. Not the greatest thing ever, but all of its Metacritic reviews falling within the 60 to 91 range makes sense because I think that we can all agree that this was a tense film with solid atmosphere, scares and performances and it did not take cheap shots. It reminded me of Gone Girl with its unreliable narrator, although this one ended up a lot darker than I expected. Murder may be sensationalized in movies, but rape is still icky. Fourth-billed Allison Tolman was a surprise. They only filmed The Gift earlier this year, so Edgerton might be a Fargo fan. Wendell Pierce, Busy Phillips and David Denman also popped up, which was cool as a television fan.
Also, check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blumhouse_Productions. Over the last five or so years, Jason Blum has produced about fifty titles through his production company, mostly stuff like Paranormal Activity, Insidious and tons of low-budget horror movies that you have never heard of. But he has made dramas (not horror) twice and has veered into nonfiction twice. As a result, the guy who spends most of his time on The Purge, Ouija and Sinister actually has an Oscar nomination (Whiplash) and two Emmys (The Normal Heart, The Jinx). Fun! The Gift (thriller) looks to be another bright spot.
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