Far too often have we fallen prey to cliché horrors and thrillers. Evil spirit that, dude trying to kill people this. With the lack of fresh, original ideas, I can say we’ve all gotten sick of the horror genre. But due to the insistence of my sister and the good ratings The Gift received on IMDB, I acquiesced in watching the flick. I figured, maybe this’ll be the film that changed my mind about the modern-day thriller?
In Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut, The Gift follows married couple, Simon and Robyn (Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall) unexpectantly encountering Gordo, (Joel Edgerton) an old ‘friend’ of Simon’s from high school. Simon hardly remembers Gordo at first, but he and Robyn invite him for dinner nonetheless. What seems like innocent kindness for the couple soon morphs into a terrifying spin with a continual amount of uninvited encounters and gifts from Gordo.
I’ll admit, I had a feeling in my stomach this film would be ‘bleh.’ I had wanted to push this sentiment aside, but I guess it happened for a reason. You could say an additional perk that pushed me to watch The Gift was Jason Bateman and Joel Edgerton, (or as I knew him, the guy with the funny mustache in The Great Gatsby.) The acting was good, but nothing mind-blowing.
“See, you’re done with the past, but the past is not done with you.”
What really bugged me about The Gift was that it was predictable. Simon’s character comes
off as unlikeable and too impulsive—which definitely gives away something about Bateman’s character. Furthermore, the idea of a remnant of one’s past randomly popping up is almost never a good sign in modern film. In all honesty, it would’ve been nice if Edgerton had taken a different direction with this; he should’ve added something more to the film’s story. Sure, the twist at the end of the film had people shocked, but if one were to pin the pieces of the plot together, it really isn’t surprising. Not to mention the general stupidity of some of the characters and the dragging of the plot-line didn’t help Edgerton’s case either.
“Good people deserve good things.”
I will say that the psychological message of the Gift was well-done. Not astonishing, but it had potential. The idea of wanting to inflict the same extent of psychological pain rather than physical is a concept that could be explored via an endless number of ways. Sure, many films have this message as well, but it is quite rare for movies to perfectly execute it—to elicit actual empathy from its viewers.
“I mean, it’s amazing how an idea can take a hold and really bring a person down.”
All in all, The Gift definitely had potential, but skipped down the wrong yellow brick road. Edgerton had nailed a great idea and could have had it all, (cue Adele’s sorrow), but unfortunately took it down the wrong direction. If you’re ever bored and thinking, ‘ah, what the heck,’ this flick is for you.
Running Time: 1 hr, 48 min.
Final Verdict: B-/C