The Gift (7/10)

The Gift

The Sins Of The Past Will Become Your Present.


A husband and wife try to reinvigorate their relationship but their lives are threatened by a "friend" from the husband's past who holds a horrifying secret about him, sending their world into a tailspin.

Title The Gift
Director Joel Edgerton
Director of Photography Eduard Grau
Runtime 1 h 48 min
Certification R
Release Date 7 August 2015
Tagline The Sins Of The Past Will Become Your Present.
IMDb Id tt4178092

When married couple Simon and Robyn move back to Simon’s childhood town, they go shopping for their new house and bump into Gordo, a guy Simon used to go to school with even if Simon can only vaguely place Gordo. Soon after, a small gift arrives at their house, and Gordo later shows up in person with another gift to welcome them back to the neighbourhood. Simon isn’t really looking to rekindle a relationship with Gordo – he was known as Gordo the Weirdo at school after all – but Robyn feels guilted into at least reciprocating with some basic kindness. Before long, they end up having a dinner together.

It soon becomes clear that not all is what it seems; with any of the characters. As the cat and mouse games progress, we find out more and more about the past of all three characters, enough for the viewer to wonder which character actually deserves their sympathy most, if at all…

All three characters are played well, generally quite controlled allowing their true issues, personalities and drivers to only slowly seep out as the plot progresses. It is nice to see Jason Bateman (as Simon) in a role quite different from, and meatier than, his usual rom-com persona. Joel Edgerton, who also wrote and directed the movie, delivers a credible Gordo, understatedly moving from mousy to menacing.

It is not a flashy movie at all – the plot development is as restrained as the characters are – until the final act that is. It doesn’t quite keep you on the edge of your seat, but it simmers along nicely, building up steam in the pressure cooker with sufficient twists to keep you guessing. And the finale is a nice zinger. Not sure it really fits the rest of the movie, and it can raise lots of questions, but it does deliver a pleasingly twisty ending.

An enjoyable thriller.

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