The Gift


Director: Joel Edgerton.
Screenplay: Joel Edgerton.
Starring: Jason Bateman, Joel Edgerton, Rebecca Hall, Allison Tolman, Tim Griffin, Busy Philipps, Adam Lazarre-White, Beau Knapp, Wendell Pierce, P.J. Byrne, Mirrah Foulkes, David Denman, Katie Aselton, Nash Edgerton.

“You think you’re done with the past, but the past is not done with you”

Is there no end to Joel Edgerton’s abilities? Although he’d been involved in projects before, it’s probably fair to say that it wasn’t until David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom in 2010 that opportunities began to really open up for him. He’s since went on to work with Kathryn Bigelow, Baz Luhrmann and Ridley Scott, while also penning Michôd’s impressive second feature The Rover. Now he makes his own feature length directorial debut and it would seem that we have much more to see from Edgerton’s talents. Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) are a young married couple leading a comfortable lifestyle. Out of the blue, they meet Gordo (Joel Edgerton) an old high-school acquaintance of Simon’s who begins to make uninvited appearances at their house and always comes bearing gifts. Simon and Robyn begin to question his motives but Gordo’s motives are not the only ones in need of questioning.When you consider the plot or concept of Edgerton’s The Gift, you may be reminded of previous stalker thrillers like The Hand that Rocks the Cradle or Cape Fear. On the surface, it does share some similarities with these films but Edgerton manages to put his own spin on the proceedings. The film starts with the conventional creepy stalker tropes but it soon resists these conventions by throwing in some unexpected plot developments which turn the narrative on it’s head.Edgerton wisely shows restraint and plays events down by employing a low-key edge and a deliberate pace. He’s in no rush to jump into any revelations and the character arcs are given time to play out which only adds to the tension and suitably unsettling atmosphere.

The performances also hit all the right notes; Edgerton brings the requisite portentousness to his enigmatic stranger while Bateman shows good range and balances the nuances of his character well.To speak more of the film would only give away plot developments that are better left unsaid. Suffice to say that, although as a genre piece it’s nothing new, it’s still tightly and cleverly handled and unravels as a satisfying psychological thriller that’s worthy of some attention.There’s a strong cinematic output from our Antipodean friends at the moment, of which, Edgerton seems to be spearheading and this will no doubt convince studios to invest further in his directorial endeavours.Mark Walker

Trivia: As he wanted to focus on directing, Edgerton filmed his own scenes as Gordo two weeks into shooting and completed them in seven days.

Advertisements

35 Responses to “The Gift”

  1. Marvellous post Mark, looks really intense and twisted.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a really big fan of this one. Edgerton really knows how to handle his material. Hungry to see this one again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent review man, although this thing was 5 stars all the way for me. Maybe 4.5 now that I’ve calmed down a bit. The combination of it being his directorial debut, his performance (which was a killer and, as you noted, filmed VERY quickly), the unpredictability and the strength of the supporting cast, not to mention the fact it has an interesting commentary on the nature of perception of who has a ‘perfect life’ all added to a wonderful experience for me. But hey, I don’t run the show here. (Unfortunately.) 😉

    Like

    • No! You have your own show to run. I’m the daddy around here. Be gone with your heavy handed opinions. 😉 Lol.

      I jest, of course. Your opinion is always welcome around here.
      5 stars eh? Now that’s high praise. I wouldn’t say you were wrong, though. It’s a very well made flick and maybe on another viewing I might well even rate it higher. Still a 7 out of 10 is still a good rating.

      Eager to see what Edgerton does next.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ha! No, they’re totally heavy-handed! 😀

        But yeah, i am debating a pretty academic point, a rating is a rating, nothing more nothing less. The film was a great surprise and I don’t know how many negative reviews I’ve read of it. Not very many, that’s for sure

        Liked by 1 person

      • I haven’t came across any negativity on it. Probably because it’s hard to criticise such a well made film. It’s seem to have struck a chord.

        Like

  4. Surprised the heck out of me. Except not that ending. I called that from the very minute. Nice review Mark.

    Like

    • I have to admit, I never twigged on the ending till late on. I eventually got it but not too early even though the signs were there. Good film and I’m interested in where Edgerton goes from here.

      Like

  5. Ah you watched it! If I was rating I’d also go with a 3.5. Edgerton really is a talented guy; I wonder what his forte is; will he ever be able to become the writer/director/actor he could be if he’s concentrating on all three disciplines equally? I didn’t really talk about Bateman in my review but I agree with what you say about him. Pretty good all round!

    Liked by 1 person

    • To be fair, although I liked The Rover I wasn’t all that taken with Edgerton’s script. I found it lacking a certain something but the film’s grittiness and style won me over. For sure he’s a good actor and it would seem a fine director. Who knows where he goes from here but it’ll be interesting.
      As for Bateman, his performance surprised me the most. I thought he was very good and a long shot from his previous comedic roles.

      Like

      • Yeah, I didn’t really mention Bateman much in my review but it did surprise me, although enough actors move from comedy to serious drama or whatever so I don’t know why I didn’t think he was capable of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Same here. Bateman shouldn’t have been surprising going by the good record of transition from comedy to drama from many actors but he still took me aback.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This one did not initially interest me but after reading a few reviews like this one, I’m curious.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. abbiosbiston Says:

    I am so annoyed I missed this in the cinema!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh man, I’ve read so many strong reviews of this I really need to see it now. Wonderful write up from one Mark to another.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Edgerton is our most talented export I reckon. Great review, I really enjoyed this movie though I was hoping for it to be a little more tense

    Liked by 1 person

    • It could have been a little more tense. I agree, man. That said, it’s still an impressive debut from Edgerton. I’m now hoping to catch Felony – which I believe he wrote as well as acted in?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yup. Felony isn’t great but its a solid movie. Tom Wilkinson pulls the best occer Aussie accent I have ever heard, he is great in it

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ha! You have a best Aussie accent? I have a best Scottish accent too. Believe it or not, it’s Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland. It’s been a while and my mind may change next time I see it but I remember his Scottish accent being spot on. It’s bizarre why we hold these memories.
        Anyway, I’ll let you know what I think of Felony. Looking forward to it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree, it is bizarre how memory works. I specifically remember seeing Felony, and when I saw it I (somehow) hadn’tr heard of Wilkinson before. It wasn’t until months later I realised that he isn’t Australian!! No one else has come close, not that I’ve seen at least. Even Mel Gibson didn’t sound heaps Aussie back in the day

        Like

  10. Muckerrs!

    I watched this last week and thought it was pretty good. If anything – Edgerton was the only thing that bothered me… great stuff, amigo!

    Boat Drinks!

    #horsetits

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: