The Gift – Movie Review
The Gift – R
Release Date: Fri 07 Aug 2015
A couple moves into a new house. The husband is out during the day at a new job and the wife is home alone, telecommuting to her old job out of town. A strange man begins to insert himself into their lives, leading to extended periods of paranoia as the wife investigates strange noises and mystery packages left at the door. This sounds like the setup to a standard haunted house or stalker movie, but The Gift, written and directed by Joel Edgerton has crafted something far grander.
Husband Simon (Jason Bateman) is out shopping with his wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall) when they run into Gordo (Edgerton), a high school classmate of Simon’s who he doesn’t really remember. They take his number and agree to call him but never do. Soon, Gordo starts leaving gifts and showing up unannounced at their house – always when Robyn is home alone.
The plot takes a great number of twists and turns and builds incredible tension throughout. The three main actors are fantastic. Rebecca Hall is the audience surrogate, asking the questions we would ask and it is usually her experiences that inform us on what is happening. Edgerton could have easily made Gordo more idiosyncratic, but instead he is perfectly balanced between a calm facade with something deeply damaged behind his eyes. This goes double for Jason Bateman, who gives the best performance of his career.
The best way to experience The Gift is to go in knowing as little as possible so as not to spoil the fun. But you should absolutely see it. It’s a psychological/suspense/thriller that is very tense, but not scary in a traditional horror movie way. Don’t avoid it if you don’t like horror, and if you do like horror reset your expectations. Go see it – it’s one of the best surprises of the year.
Aaron, Cal and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car: