Actor Joel Edgerton has come a long way since his appearance in Star Wars Episode II as the young Uncle Owen. He has been delivering some great performances showcasing his wide range as an actor and now is looking to do the same behind the camera as writer, directors and star of the film The Gift. The film also stars Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall, but can it live up to the creepy nature of the trailers or will it be a friendship you wish you never gotten into?
The Gift follows a young married couple whose lives are thrown into a harrowing tailspin when an acquaintance from the husband’s past brings mysterious gifts and a horrifying secret to light after more than 20 years. This is one of those slow burn thrillers that really delivers on every level. The story wastes no time getting started, but makes sure to not rush things and allows the characters and the creepy nature of it all to build up. Edgerton has crafted a Hitchcock like film that is not often done anymore. He lets the story and the characters do their job instead of trying to force the big scares. Sure there are a couple of jump moments that work great, but that is not what this film is about. This is mental torture more than anything with just enough of the physical to make it feel all the more dangerous. Everyone is great in this film with Bateman taking on a different kind of role than he has become known for. This isn’t the likable Bateman that fans enjoy this is something altogether different. The majority of the film is more through the perspective of Hall who brings an interesting range of emotions to the role and delivers a character that is more layered than you originally think. Edgerton steps out from behind the camera as well to take on the crazed one of the film, but doesn’t play it up like you may think. This is a man with multiple layers and some deep secrets that you just never quite know about right up until the end. There are some big twists and revelations in the second half of the film that some might figure out sort of and others may never see coming, but are handled so perfectly it won’t matter either way as it just works.
The scariest part of this film is the fact that it is cemented in reality and could happen. There is really nothing here that could not really occur and that in itself makes it terrifying. There are some dumb decisions made by characters that lead to the issues they face, but when you see what they are really dealing with it makes a lot more sense to why. There is a definitive ending, but it is shrouded in a mystery to what really went down making it all the more insane and torment for the characters involved. Some might scoff at this because they want everything laid before them perfectly, but it is this excellent filmmaking that makes for a classic thriller which this one will no doubt become.