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The Gift
Genre Thriller
 
Review:

The Gift is an elegant and unconventional mystery drama thriller that will surprise you. This is a fine production from the mind of Joel Edgerton, who writes, directs and stars. The story follows a married couple, who are forced to unearth dark secrets when they confront an old acquaintance, after relocating to a new city for a fresh start. While the plot sounds fairly typical and the sleek cinematography at home in this kind of thriller, the differences are in the unexpected.

Like the casting of Jason Bateman for instance. Bateman is known as Mr. Nice Guy, a clean shaven guy with boyish good looks, whose role in Arrested Development serves as a precursor for the actor's type. However, this performance seems like an attempt to shatter that notion, going to his darker depths to reveal a very shadowy side to the actor.

Rebecca Hall is a more obvious choice. She's got a melancholic beauty, a longing and haunting aura that suits period piece and horror thriller films. She carries the tone of The Gift with a paranoid and tormented performance that shows a woman trying to regain control of her life with faint echoes of Shelley Duvall inĀ The Shining.

Joel Edgerton is the dark horse as "Gordo", a role you could imagine someone like John Cusack playing. While Edgerton isn't the obvious choice, he fits into the creepy sociopathic tendencies of his character and embraces the oddity with an understated, eerie and restrained menace.

The Gift is a mercurial and nocturnal creature, moving along at its own pace and turning tables as it makes its way to the exit. The character arcs are fascinating and the dramatic intensity of their seeping personalities makes it gripping. There are some earned jump scares and the suspense is ever-present, despite one or two lulls in the pacing.

The powerful, provocative and disturbing conclusion recalls The Life of David Gale, sweeping you off your feet and generating intense emotion around a harrowing and dismal situation. It's dark, creepy, engrossing and the performances are the final nails in this pristine coffin of doom and fast-approaching gloom.

The bottom line: Provocative


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