ByJames Porter, writer at
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James Porter

The Gift is the feature directorial debut of actor Joel Edgerton (Warrior) and stars Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses), Rebecca Hall (The Town) and Joel Edgerton. Bateman and Hall star as a young married couple who's lives are thrown into chaos when Edgerton's Gordo, an old school mate of Simon, forces his way into their life. Buying them gifts and arriving at the house uninvited are just a couple of the things Gordo does that make the couple quite suspicious and when the relationship turns sour, the couples lives is thrown into a seemingly never ending tailspin.

From the trailers The Gift looks like a pretty standard stalker film, but it's so much more than that. The Gift really focuses on how the past can come back to haunt you and how your actions in life matter. I was incredibly impressed with creepy little thriller.

After moving into a beautiful new home Simon (Bateman) and Robin (Hall) seem to have life figured out. Simon has a new job, the neighbors are friendly and the two are trying to start a family together, life could not be better for the two. But when out picking furniture for their new house, Simon is approached by a familiar face, Gordon 'Gordo' Mosley (Edgerton), a man he hasn't seen since high school who quickly becomes a large part of the couples new life.

This is a small yet terrific cast and we see sides of these actors that we've never had a chance to before. Hall as always is quite great but Bateman really surprised me. Bateman is best known for his comedies and he's great in them but here he delivers a much deeper and darker performance than ever before. Edgerton who also wrote and directed the film does a magnificent job at getting under the audiences skin, his pale complexion, big brown eyes and social awkwardness give off the vibe that there is certainly something wrong with this character yet I never stopped feeling sorry for him especially after certain secrets come to light. The performances felt very natural to me and that's yet another credit to Edgerton's terrific direction.

Edgerton is a very underrated actor, I think he's done some fantastic work in his career but The Gift could really transform his career from now on as his directing here is quite excellent. The way he uses the camera, the way he reveals plot to the audience and the masterful way he builds tension is almost Hitchcockian. I was on the edge for a large majority of this film, there are only a couple of jump scares, but they're well earned and they certainly pay off. When you leave the theater you might be feeling fine, but the minute your home alone the film will come back to you and show how scary it actually is. The jump scares here don't dissolve the film's tension as they usually do in horror films, in fact they only add to it.

Under the reign of a different filmmaker, the story of The Gift could seem quite silly, certainly events towards the tail end of the film. But because Edgerton treats his script with such respect and seriousness the film is very compelling and will leave you thrilled.

I really loved this film, the performances, the story and the excellent direction from Edgerton make The Gift an absolute must see for 2015.


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