The Gift Movie Review

the gift

Were you a bully or extra mean spirited towards someone when you were younger? Yeah, you should probably go apologize to that person, just incase.

The Gift is a psychological thriller about a mysterious man (Joel Edgerton) who intrudes into a couple’s (Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall) happy life. He drops off gifts, repeatedly stops by unannounced, and just generally makes the couple feel uncomfortable.  Eventually reasons from the past come up to explain the man’s motives, unraveling the couple’s lives and relationship.

And what we get from the movie is a solid thriller/mystery.  This is a huge departure from Bateman’s normal comedic roles but he absolutely nails it.  All the actors in the movie do a really good job.  The story is also very intriguing and you are never quite sure where it is going.  But where the movie really succeeds is when it wants to build tension, boy does it build some tension.  There are some really intense scenes in this movie.  There are even some perfectly executed jump scares that add to the tension, rather than just being a cheap payoff to it.  About 2/3 of this movie is this way and keeps you on the edge of your seat.

My biggest gripe with the movie is that other 1/3.  The second act of the movie seems to lose its steam a little bit and feels like it isn’t quite sure where it’s going.  It eventually picks back up in the last act but the middle does take you out of it a bit.  Another complaint I have is there is nothing to really show how much time is passing.  You have no idea how often Edgerton’s character is dropping off gifts or coming by the house.  It could be daily or weekly or monthly.  There’s no real way of telling which makes it a bit hard to follow and takes away from the tension some.  The movie also leave a few loose ends and the ending isn’t great.  It leaves a lot of unanswered questions, which I think was the filmmakers’ intention.  And it works in some movies (the spinning top in Inception and the ending of Gone Girl both really work for me for example).  I’m just not sure it worked for this one.

But all in all, it’s a good movie that I would recommend seeing.  It’s definitely a much smaller movie than we are used to seeing in the summer and is a nice departure from all the blockbusters.  It has a pretty original story and is a great mystery.  The Gift gets a 3.25/5.

UPDATE: After further review, the score of this movie has been re-graded and is now 3.75/5.  Find out why by clicking here.

Have you seen this one? Have you heard of it? Let me know in the comments.