Classic Movie Reviews

Classic Review: The Gift (2015)

Since I’ve started this site, I’ve written nearly 200 reviews. In case you missed some of my earlier ones, I would like to share an older review of “The Gift” which originally appeared here.

When married couple Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) run into Gordo (Joel Edgerton), a former schoolmate of Simon’s, their seemingly perfect lives take an unexpected turn for the worst. Simon initially claims to have not recognized Gordo but when he and his wife start to receive mysterious gifts and uninvited visits, a disturbing secret surfaces. As Robyn begins to learn the past history between Simon and Gordo, shew begins to question whether or not she ever really knew her husband at all.

I will admit that I went into this film expecting it to be cheesy and predictable but I was pleasantly surprised when I found that it wasn’t either of those. What may seem like a simple plot at first is done in an interesting and original way with many red herrings, plot twists, and shifting perspectives to keep us viewers engaged. The script written by Edgerton is well done in that it strays from the predictable and his characters drive the plot forward. Suspense is generated from the moral ambiguity of the characters as you never really know what their intentions are. The film. also directed by Edgerton, is beautifully shot in that the camera cuts in and out at the right time during the scary/suspenseful parts which adds to the experience. What also added to that experience was the soundtrack which always seemed to ratchet up and down at the right time letting you know when something was about to happen. Its amazing how it was able to achieve this without any blood or brutal violence. This was appreciated as I have seen a lot of those types of movies without ever eliciting too much of a reaction from me but there were a few moments when this one got to me which I enjoyed. I personally prefer psychological scares more than the more gruesome ones. The story can get a little slow at times but I didn’t mind because of the performances of the three leads. I was surprised by Jason Bateman’s Simon. Being used to his numerous comedic performances, I didn’t think that he could do it. He was able to go from a normal man with a dry sense of humor to a sly, conniving bully on a dime. Rebecca Hall was great as Robyn, a damaged, vulnerable housewife simply looking for peace of mind. However Edgerton’s Gordo is the highlight of this film. In his performance, he goes from nice and kind to creepy and unstable so effortlessly using mostly facial expressions. This film is a slow journey but the scenery is not like most and unlike a lot of thrillers, it doesn’t play all of its cards too early and keeps the suspense all the way until the end which I will not spoil.

Score: 9/10

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