The Gift SPOILER-FREE Review

I had the unfortunate experience of seeing The Gift, a movie I was really wanting to see, in front row seats at the theater. I should've bought my tickets earlier, and all that was left were seats right in front. I was still able to get into it and really enjoy the movie, but it took some time to get used to the view. My advice: if you want to see this movie, buy your tickets ahead of time and don't get sh*tty seats. I promise my seating in the film hasn't influenced my review of the film, other than the fact that I saw one to many crotches and many looks up people's noses. 

The Gift is the directorial debut of Joel Edgerton, who also plays the role of Gordo, a man who runs into Simon (Jason Bateman) and his wife, Robyn (Rebecca Hall) one day after they've just moved to California. Simon got a new job, and they have just bought a big new expensive house. After running into Gordo, they realize that they used to go to school together. Gordo begins dropping by the house unexpectedly and leaving gifts for his old high school "friend", and things begin to get out of hand pretty quickly.

I don't really like horror movies. I've never bought into them. The ones made today are cheap and rely only pn jump scares. The classic horror movies often have a different genre infused into them, which make them classics. What I like more is psychological thrillers, which can be creepy and suspenseful without feeling the need to make a doll come to life and jump out of closets. The Gift is definitely a psychological thriller. The first act of the movie sets itself up to be what one would expect the film to be--- Gordo is a creeper who is stalking and tormenting the innocent family. But by the second act, the movie takes a completely different direction, to the point where you don't know who's the villain and who's the victim. I'm not going to say much more on the plot, because it was great to see it all unfold on screen, without an idea of where it was going to go. 

The screenplay was fantastic for this movie. There was no real fat to it. Every scene had a purpose that, maybe not apparent at first, all came together by the end. The dialogue was well written, and served in cleverly giving the audience exposition without spoon-feeding it. There were things hinted at during the film that added to the depth of the characters, but weren't necessarily expanded upon. Pretty early in the movie it's revealed that Robyn is recovering from a drug problem, and while this is introduced into the movie, it doesn't play into the movie as a whole significantly. While this could be seen as being unnecessary, I thought I helped develop her character with something that didn't need to become a big plot point. It was simply a passing hint of her past and made her a more rich character.

The performances in this movie were terrific. Jason Bateman proved himself to be a great dramatic actor, not just the comedic funnyman from Horrible Bosses and Arrested Development. While he starts out playing the straight forward nice guy he normally is, his character takes a turn, revealing Bateman to have a lot more range as an actor than I think we give him credit for. Rebecca Hall was also fantastic in the movie. We really watch the movie from her perspective, as the mystery of Simon and Gordo's past unravels right in front of her. She did a great job in her role, and she added a lot to the film. Joel Edgerton was also great as Gordo. He never said anything directly creepy, but he gave off such a creepy atmosphere that made you think "Something's just not right with this guy". These three actors played really well off each other and all contributed to making such a compelling movie.

I really don't have any major complaints (other than my seating). The movie left off on a major cliffhanger, and I actually yelled out in the theater "That's it??". In the moment, I wished maybe they had showed a little bit more at the end, but upon reflection, it was a good ending just the way it was. There may be some minor, nitpicky things that I would change in particular scenes, but overall, it's a really solid movie. 

The Gift is a compelling, psychological thriller. It starts off playing as a kind of cliched, home invasion film but then takes a sudden twist and becomes more enriching. The writing is top notch, and is a fantastic directorial debut from Joel Edgerton. The performances were also spectacular, with Jason Bateman specifically showing his talents as a dramatic actor. There aren't any major complaints I have about the film. The ending is a real shock and abrupt, but it really works. I really liked this movie, and I think it's probably one of the better ones I've seen this year.


What do you think? Did you see The Gift? Did you like it? Leave your (spoiler-free) review in the comments section below. 

Written by: Nate 
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