When Simon (Jason Bateman) and his wife Robin (Rebecca Hall) move to California after a tragedy , they see it as a way of starting over. Simon has a new job lined up for him and Robin is in the process of getting her own act back together. Along with their new house comes a new life. It isn’t until one day when Gordo (Joel Edgerton), a man from Simon’s past drops into their lives, that things take a new turn in their new chapter. The couple begins to suspect something isn’t right with Gordo. It isn’t long before the couple is thrown into a panic and old secrets are dug up that Gordo isn’t willing to let them forget.
The Gift is the written and directed by star Joel Edgerton. Upon first seeing the trailer for the film, I expected it to be a very bland and by-the-numbers stalker film. However, I ended up being genuinely surprised. Edgerton has clearly seen his own fair share of stalker thrillers and wanted to bring something different to the table. And he certainly delivered. As the story begins, we see Simon and Robin as a very happy couple despite the events that brought them to Cali. When Gordo appears, it looks like a very familiar formula. But unlike most films of its kind,it throws us into the situation right away. Gordo starts off fairly normal but then he starts showing a very unusual but not entirely alarming side. But once things escalate you never know if where Gordo as well as the story will take us. As a matter of fact we find ourselves very much relating to the character of Robin. As viewers we can’t help but admit we’d be in the same mindset as her until things start escalating. Robin is actually a very real and relatable character that doesn’t do things that annoy the living hell out of us. Bateman’s character Simon however ends up being very despicable and almost more unlikabke than Gordo. That brings another fairly original element to the story in how the characters are set up. By the end of the film you really don’t have any idea of what will become of these characters until the conclusion of the film that will stay with you after it’s over and one you will want to talk about with others. It is easily one of thr craziest and best endings to a thriller I’ve seen in a long time. Along with a strong script and great direction from Edgerton, he also provides a knock out performance as our twisted villain. Edgerton gets so deep into character that you can’t help but feel unnerved watching him in his many scenes and grow just as uncomfortable as the main couple. Rebecca Hall provides an extremely strong performance as our female lead. I honestly didn’t care for Hall as actress prior to this but she nailed the role through and though. She’s another member of the cast who really gets into the mind set and emotions of the character and never lets go. Then we have Jason Bateman. While he plays an unlikabke character and does a fine job, he also plays it very bland and has moments of dialogue in which he hardly delivers anything behind it. He seems almost bored through most of it and basically tries to wing it.
The Gift is a great mystery thriller with a strong and fresh, engaging story, with great cinematography. The thrills are present but more so in a way that you are left guessing through the whole things and it holds your attention and the excellent climax. With strong performances by Rebecca Hall and Joel Edgerton, and a questionable performance from Bateman, The Gift is one of, if not the biggest surprise of the year.