David Allen Griffin is a cool killer- time and time again, he chooses a female victim, studies her for weeks till he knows her routine to the smallest detail, makes meticulous preparations ... See full summary »
Jane and Will are familiar faces on the Los Angeles club scene. They meet officially at drug rehab after Jane OD'ed and Will crashed her motorcycle driving stoned. They hit it off ... See full summary »
An aimless young man who is scalping tickets, gambling and drinking, agrees to coach a Little League team from the Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago as a condition of getting a loan from a friend.
Neal Cassady is living the beat life during the 1940s, working at The Tire Yard and and philandering around town. However, he has visions of a happy life with kids and a white picket fence.... See full summary »
When three blue collar acquaintances come across millions of dollars in lost cash they make a plan to keep their find from the authorities but find complications and mistrust weaving its way into their plan.
Billy Bob Thornton,
After returning from the war, Paul and a young woman meet on a bus as she's headed home from college to help with the grape harvest and face her Old World domineering dad. The woman has not... See full summary »
A pair of whacked-out cartoon-like exterminator/hitmen kill the owner of a burglar-alarm company, and stalk the partner who hired them, his wife, and a nerd framed for the murder, who tells the story in flashback from the electric chair.
A talented but disenchanted high school student seeking more advanced instruction sneaks inside the ivy covered gates of nearby Brown University. Masquerading as a college student he is ... See full summary »
Yvonne de la Vega,
When Jessica King goes missing, all eyes turn to Annabelle Wilson. Not as a murder suspect, but as a clairvoyant. Many of the towns folk go to Annabelle for help, and Jessica's fiancée, Wayne Collins, turns to Annabelle for possible guidance. Annabelle feels that she can't help, but this doesn't stop her from constantly getting visions of Jessica's fate. Written by
In a small town deep in the South, a single mother endowed with a special ability becomes involved with the disappearance of a young woman and has a brush with the supernatural, in `The Gift,' directed by Sam Raimi. Cate Blanchett stars as Annie Wilson, a young widow attempting to raise her three kids and provide a decent life for her family, scraping out a living on Social Security since the tragic death of her husband in a work related accident the previous year. She supplements her meager income by doing `readings' for the local townsfolk, accepting their donations for the insights she offers them into their own lives. Annie has a `gift,' the ability to see certain things in the cards that enables her to advise her clients about personal issues. It's something she can't explain; she knows only that it's inherited (which she learned from her grandmother), and that it's real. And though it's helped her maintain her home, she soon finds that it doesn't always make for the most pleasant of situations, as when she must advise a young woman, Valerie Barksdale (Hilary Swank), on how to cope with her abusive husband, Donnie (Keanu Reeves), or attempt to help a troubled young man, Buddy Cole (Giovanni Ribisi) come to terms with some sensitive aspects of his life. Then, when a client comes to her to ask for help when his daughter disappears, not only does it take her to the dark side of the human experience, she discovers that certain individuals, including local sheriff Pearl Johnson (J.K. Simmons) do not believe that her `gift' is real.
Stylistically crafted and delivered, Raimi's film will keep you engrossed and on the edge of your seat until the very end. He successfully blends reality with just a touch of the supernatural that makes for riveting suspense while keeping it within the realm of believability. The relationship played out between Donnie and Valerie is anything but unique-- you've seen this before, many times in many films-- but within the context of this story it's fresh and it works. The doubtful sheriff and the cynical, jaded defense attorney, Gerald Weems (Michael Jeter), are fairly stereotypical, but that can be easily overlooked in light of the overall story and especially due to the credibility of the Annie character, which is well developed and never presented as anything beyond what can be readily accepted as true to life. As the central character, Annie anchors the film and enables the circumstances in which she is involved to be perceived as real; it's the strength of the film, and it's what makes it all work so well.
What also makes it work is the strong performance by Cate Blanchett, who makes Annie so real and accessible, displaying her `gift' with restraint and avoiding the possible pitfall of taking it too far over the edge, which could easily have made it suspect. Instead, she brings a depth to the character that draws you into her world and allows you to empathize with her, which would have been impossible had she invested Annie with even a touch of the charlatan. With consummate skill, Blanchett creates a well rounded character which demonstrates that as an actor, she definitely has a very real `gift' of her own.
Ribisi also does a memorable turn as Buddy, with a striking performance in which he creates some disturbing moments that are almost painful to watch; his is a character study of a soul in distress, seeking solace and resolution, and even as he attempts to sort out his life, you are able to sympathize with his plight as you share Buddy's experiences. And it's through Buddy (as well as Annie, of course), that the audience is able to make that necessary and very real connection with the film. With films like `Saving Private Ryan' and now this one, Ribisi is on his way to establishing himself as one of the premiere character actors in the business today.
Playing somewhat against type, Reeves proves that he can be a good `bad' guy, giving possibly one of his best performances ever as Donnie. He very credibly conveys that sense of explosiveness lying just beneath the surface that makes his character menacing and dark, which in turn makes Donnie psychologically as well as physically threatening. It's a good job by Reeves, who deserves credit for taking on a role that is so disagreeable and insensitive.
The supporting cast includes Greg Kinnear (Wayne), Katie Holmes (Jessica), Kim Dickens (Linda), Gary Cole (David) and Rosemary Harris (Annie's Granny). A taut thriller that is emotionally involving, `The Gift' delivers what it promises early on, which is exceptional, as many films of this nature often fail to actually follow through after a tremendous opening act. Rest assured, this one does and has it all; suspense, credibility and some memorable moments, all courtesy of Raimi, a good story and a superb cast. And that's the magic of the movies. I rate this one 9/10.
86 of 98 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?