Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) are a married couple who decide to move to California for a new break after Robyn miscarriages her baby and Simon receives a job at a big security firm.
Their moment of happiness though is dampened after Simon runs into a former school mate Gordo (Joel Edgerton) while they are shopping. At first they find Gordo’s welcome gifts nice but soon he begins to over stay his welcome and Simon decides it is time to tell Gordo to back off. This triggers a series of happenings that Simon and Robyn believe is Gordo getting back at them.
Joel Edgerton has been a star on the rise in the United States for awhile now. Roles in big films like Warrior and Exodus: Gods And Kings have meant that he is well and truly on the way to becoming a household name. What most people outside of Australia haven’t known though is that Edgerton is also a talented screenwriter who has penned gems like Felony, The Square (one of the best crime thrillers you are ever likely to see) and The Rover. Now Edgerton decides to wear three hats as he decides to star, direct and write The Gift – a film that suddenly comes into contention for film of the year.
When you work as a film critic you see just how many thrillers are released every year that technically fail. The amount of thrillers that end up on the straight-to-DVD pile is remarkable so when you see that one has made it to the big screen you find yourself hoping like hell that it is a decent film. Luckily The Gift is more than just decent, it’s bloody brilliant.
The Gift is a slow burn early on. Like he did with The Square Edgerton allows The Gift to build the tension slowly until it explodes with two major twists that shows the audience they were completely blind to what was going on the entire time. Edgerton’s directional style is very in the realm of Alfred Hitchcock while his screenwriting style is something that we have never seen before. The way that he manages to make characters blur between wether they are the aggressor or the victim is truly remarkable and the fact that this film leaves you content despite leaving you asking questions about what really happened is a stroke of masterpiece. This ends up becoming one of those films you want to watch over and over just so you can see if you missed any clues to what really happened or not.
The well written script also allows for some great acting performances. Rebecca Hall who can sometimes me up and down with her performances is truly likable here as the clear victim Robyn. Meanwhile Jason Bateman takes a break away from making comedies like Identity Thief and Horrible Bosses and instead sinks his teeth into playing a really dramatic role… something he does so well that you can only wish and hope that he decides to do more roles like this in the future.
Adding to his great directing style and screenwriting skills is the performance of Joel Edgerton. Edgerton somehow makes the audience drift between hating and feeling sorry for Gordo as the film progresses. While you are pretty sure that there is something completely unhinged about Gordo is soon becomes clear that it’s not his fault that he is the way that he is. So good is Joel Edgerton’s performance that he manages to cement Gordo The Weirdo as one character that needs to be listed on any Best Screen Psychopath list that any expert wants to put together.
A lot of psychological thrillers come and go every year and a lot really aren’t worth watching but they certainly isn’t the case for The Gift. This is a beautifully written thriller that draws its audience in and leaves you wondering what the hell just happened. With Edgerton’s amazing directional style, an exceptional script that nails the genre and some good acting performances from its leads this is one film that is a must see in 2015.
Director: Joel Edgerton
Starring: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton
Running Time: 108 mins
Release Date: 7th August 2015