‘The Gift’ Should Be Returned

by Trevan McGee on August 7, 2015

in Print Reviews,Reviews

[Rating: Minor Rock Fist Down]

Joel Edgerton wears many hats in The Gift as writer, director and actor, but none of them fit particularly well, here. The Gift plays like an early draft of a Twilight Zone episode before Rod Serling tossed it out and started over or saved it for Night Gallery.

Jason Bateman plays Simon, a successful salesman who just moved back to California with his wife Robyn, played by Rebecca Hall. Robyn is recovering from a mysterious affliction, slowly unpacking her beautiful, new home, and settling into her life on the West Coast.

Then one day when they’re shopping, Simon runs into an old friend named Gordo, played by Edgerton.

Edgerton’s script becomes an allegory for what happens when bullies grow up. It’s mystery is loose and grounded, but the time the movie takes to get there is pain-staking. Early on, Gordo’s intentions, his origins and his relationship with Simon are all intriguing at first, but drag on unnecessarily and quickly lose steam.

The performances are uncompelling and phoned-in. Bateman is in his default asshole mode, here and Hall is in a rehash of her tortured, put upon character from The Prestige. But that’s mostly harmless. The Gift only offends during it’s finale, but it’s an insulting and horrible bit of dreck when it happens, and speaks more to an ignorance of basic human anatomy than anything.

Skip The Gift. If you’re looking for a suspenseful, satisfying thriller that actually delivers on its mystery and builds some true tension, check out Stoker instead.

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