Director: Joel Edgerton
Blumhouse Productons/Blue-Tongue Films
Joel Edgerton’s writing/directing debut is a taut, disturbing psychological thriller that will stay with you long after the final twist. It’s unfair to say too much about The Gift since it’s a stalker-thriller of the Fatal Attraction type, though there’s such control in and of the tension that you could be forgiven – almost – for thinking that the film doesn’t have enough to say (at first).
Edgerton is masterful in his role as “Gordo” – a mate-less type who has reconnected with a guy he went to school with (Jason Bateman as Simon). Next thing Gordo is forming a relationship with Simon’s wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall) and as the welcome-to-town/housewarming gifts pile up so does the intrigue and unease.
A subtly probing score by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans adds to the finished magic here, and all three of the leads are great. But it’s the control of Edgerton’s direction and the commitment – the bravery – of his fearless, dark writing that gives The Gift its success. We wait, we wonder, we don’t quite have all of the pieces of the puzzle – and it’s, er, the gift of this film that we only receive that at the very end. And that means it stays with you long after the final frame, emotionally taut and gripping, downright sinister in fact – but believable. Truth as ugliness has never seemed so stark, bold and frightening.