A soldier introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence.
Simon and Robyn are a young married couple whose life is going just as planned until a chance encounter with an acquaintance from Simon's high school sends their world into a harrowing tailspin. Simon doesn't recognize Gordo at first, but after a series of uninvited encounters and mysterious gifts prove troubling, a horrifying secret from the past is uncovered after more than 20 years. As Robyn learns the unsettling truth about what happened between Simon and Gordo, she starts to question: how well do we really know the people closest to us, and are past bygones ever really bygones?Written by
The movie you didn't know you had to see this summer
Here's a surprise: The Gift is a mature thriller that's more complex and classy than the trailers suggest. I don't know what caused the marketing department to make the film look like such a second-rate, cheap, predictable thriller that somehow had gotten ahold of talented actors, but now we know the truth. As Joel Edgerton's directorial debut, it's impressive, considering the sense of craft going on behind the camera. The cinematography is gorgeous and the pacing is that of a slow burn, but it's never dull. The premise is also deceptively simple, turning more intricate and involving as the film progresses.
Edgerton, who also wrote the screenplay, refuses to adhere to genre conventions, constantly subverting audience's expectations on how the story plays out. Red herrings, plot twists, shifting perspectives, and moral ambiguity ensue, but they never feel cheap. Like the best thrillers, The Gift evolves naturally and realistically. Edgerton and Rebecca Hall are great, but it is Jason Bateman who impresses. As a natural comedian actor, he plays one of his rare, serious roles to terrific effect. But I digress. You should go into this film with a clean slate, but know that it is a rare, intelligent thriller that doesn't cheat or spoonfeed its audience. And in that regard, Joel Edgerton has given us a gift, indeed.
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