Early reviews of The Gift, have generally been very favorable, promising unexpected plot twists. I'm always a bit cautious with the promise of plot twists, but I love it, when they are pulled off, so with this, we spent Sunday evening at the Century City AMC.
PLOT - Married couple, Simon and Robyn have recently moved from Chicago to Los Angeles. In Chicago, they found their dreams of starting a family put on hold when Robyn suffered a miscarriage, leading to her depression and pill abuse. Simon has a new job and they are hoping that the change in locale will give them a fresh start. They didn't bank on Simon running into an old high school acquaintance, Gordo. Gordo begins showing up at Robyn and Simon's house uninvited and leaving them presents. Gordo's behavior is unsettling and Simon tells him to back off, but the result makes Robyn suspicious of her husband's past. What transpired between Gordo and Simon? Is Simon hiding a dark secret?
LIKE- Indeed, The Gift did have some very unexpected twists. It's actually a fairly subtle film that steadily builds the suspense, which works well for the ultimate theme, which I won't spoil here. Without spoiling, I do want to say that I really appreciated that this wasn't simply a suspense movie, with a crazy antagonist. It's a richly layered morality tale of actions and consequences.
Joel Edgerton, who plays Gordo, also wrote and directed The Gift. Kudos to Edgerton. He was perfect for the role, but he also crafted a clever and smart story. Rebecca Hall ( Robyn) was well-cast as a suffering wife who struggles with following her gut. It crushed me to see Jason Bateman (Simon), so good at playing a really rotten person. I need to watch some Arrested Development to get my positive vibe towards Bateman back.
DISLIKE- This is probably a positive as far as the film is concerned, but I didn't like that the movie "got me" several times with moments that made me jump in my seat. I usually can anticipate the jump moments, but The Gift, got me.
RECOMMEND- Yes. The Gift is a strong story with fantastic acting. However, this is not a typical suspense movie and it's certainly not horror, which seems to be the way that it has been pitched. It's a thriller with a heavy dose of social commentary. I left the theatre feeling like I was carrying around a big stone and it has stuck with me. It's heavy.