The Gift (2015)

The Gift

The Gift Review Review

The Gift is a 2015 thriller film directed by Joel Edgerton and starring himself and Jason Bateman. It is a flawed, albeit very intriguing thriller.

The couple is intimidated by a husband’s schoolmate. He did something to him which destroyed his whole life and now he is up for revenge. I really liked this story because it is not usual the thriller stuff, but is instead very clever with a thought-provoking subject matter. And even though it wasn’t as explored as I wanted it to have been due to genre limitations, I still liked those questions of whether a teenage bully remains a bully decades later and if teenage cruelty is truly justified. I really liked that aspect, but above all I loved its slow tension and the first half in particular is really good because it is intense, but realistically so.

But The Gift does have its major flaws. One is that their agreeing to meet this guy for so many times is somewhat unrealistic as that would never happen in real life in my opinion. But the ending ruined it for me. It is not only too unpleasant, but it is just unnecessary and really disappointing. It ended in a typical thriller fashion and although the movie strayed from that approach for the most time earlier, it ended in such a stupid and highly exaggerated thriller manner that I really disliked. I would have liked the more realistic and heartbreaking approach where Gordo never does anything truly despicable, but they ruined it and that is why this movie had a lot of potential for greatness, but unfortunately fell apart.

Simon is such a well realized and such an unlikable character. Gordo is quite menacing and Robyn was at first a typical weak female character, then she changed to a more well developed person and then she still ended up being weak. Such a problematic character. But the relationship between Simon and Gordo and that exploration of their characters is really well done and I liked the mystery element here quite a bit as well.

The acting is definitely good, but still lacking as none of these actors did anything truly remarkable in their roles. Rebecca Hall is good and so is Joel Edgerton, but Jason Bateman, although certainly fine, is still disappointing as he did not bring it enough for me as his role is the most important one here.

The Gift is very well made and solidly directed by Joel Edgerton. The screenplay does work for the most part and is quite an authentic one for this genre. The dialogue I also found to be quite good and realistic. The emotion is there and the film is very smart, despite its disappointing conclusion. The story is so sophisticated and so intriguing that it is the best reason to see this film. I loved its approach with slow tension and that tension is very well executed. The film is also really well paced and its running time is just right for this material. It is a memorable and unpredictable movie that also has some pretty good character development. The score is disappointing and sometimes annoying plus the movie has overly dark photography. But overall, The Gift is quite a good film and although it somewhat disappointed me, it is still a very original and interesting experience.

The Gift is disappointing because of its very weak ending, but it is for the most part a very interesting and original thriller with a thought-provoking and intriguing premise, good characterization, great slow tension and mostly realistic approach. It is flawed, but mostly smart and engaging.

My Rating – 4

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Posted in 2010s, 2015, MOVIE REVIEWS, Thriller and tagged , , , , , .

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