HOLLYWOOD—It is not easy to weave a psychological thriller that leaves the audience on the edge of their seats from start to finish, but “The Gift” sets the bar quite high. This tale stars Jason Bateman and Joel Edgerton as former high school classmates who have a chance encounter at a furniture store.
Bateman portrays Simon Callen, who is married to the beautiful Robyn (Rebecca Hall). It is at that furniture store; Simon comes face-to-face with a demon from his past in Gordon Moseley (Edgerton).
Hands down Edgerton exudes a level of creepiness that will automatically send the audience in a tailspin. At first, what appears to be a chance encounter, becomes much more as Gordo begins showing up at the Callen’s home unexpected, particularly when Robyn is home alone. She is much more open to befriending Gordo considering that she is new to town and doesn’t have many friends.
It’s difficult to talk about “The Gift” without giving too much away, but when strange things begin to happen, Simon and Robyn begin to suspect Gordo and that’s where the mind games begin. As a viewer, it’s a given that Simon is keeping a whopper of a secret from his wife, and when she discovers the truth, it does send a few shockwaves to the viewer. At times, you’re sitting in the theater asking yourself: “Wait, did that just happen?”
Edgerton, wrote and directed this taut thriller, and does a superb job of crafting the suspense. For some, what may seem like a slow build-up is very much needed to establish the characters and the motives involved. The entire time the viewer is watching the movie, questions will begin to fire off in the brain. It’s like a puzzle, and as a viewer you want to be able to put all the pieces together before the climax approaches.
Hall is sensational as the distressed wife, who thinks there is much more to Gordo than what her husband is willing to reveal. Bateman ventures into a territory that many have never seen from the actor: drama. He delivers perfect comedic timing to lighten the mood, but with the snap of a finger takes his character to places that accelerate the actor’s acting chops.
For a thriller, there are quite a few moments that will indeed leave one jumping out of the theater seat. I can definitely count at least 2 moments that literally left everyone in the theater grabbing the person sitting next to them.
The ending of the film is so satisfying; it leaves things up to speculation that a possible sequel could be in the works. “The Gift” was a film that I had very low expectations when I walked into the theater, but I came out praising this movie for its originality, cleverness and ability to deliver thrills and suspense unlike any other. Finally, adults have a movie that is catered to adults and there are no cheap thrills along the way. “The Gift” is a must-see for anyone looking for a thriller that will keep you guessing from start to finish.