Despite the title and this being the week of Christmas The Gift is not some lovely, warm Christmas movie. Instead The Gift is the directorial debut of actor Joel Edgerton, who also produces, writes and co-stars in this thriller.
Relocating from Chicago to Los Angeles married couple Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) hope to settle down and have a family. After running into an old classmate of Simon called Gordo (Joel Edgerton), the couple find that Gordo keeps appearing in their lives with small gifts that make Simon feel uncomfortable. Are Gordo’s intentions malicious?
Films like The Gift work better the less you know about it. Which makes it difficult to write a review on. What I will say is that the film is less like a horror as depicted in some of the trailers and more of a psychological thriller. My attention was constrantly gripped throughout the movie as I was trying to figure out what exactly Gordo was up to and try to piece together the clues on screen. While some expectations are subverted at it’s heart the film does not have the most original of ideas, but Edgerton’s direction is strong and creates a creepy atmosphere for the characters to live in.
While Joel Edgerton impresses as Gordo and pulls quadruple duties on this movie, his co-stars Rebecca Hall and Jason Batemen get more screen time as the couple who are the focus on Gordo’s attention. Hall once again is strong as the vulnerable Robyn and it’s interesting to see Bateman in a non-comedic role and one that he seems to revel in playing.
So if you are sick of lovey-dovey films this festive season and want something a bit more darker then try this psychological thriller.
Rating 3.5/5 – a smart directorial debut for Edgerton