Words and actions can be either the shield or the sword. Wielders of the sword in an unrighteous way inflict pain and misery on their victims and victims come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and creeds. Joel Edgerton, one of the stars in The Gift, has given us his directorial debut that involve him being the writer and producer along Jason Blum, that deeply highlight such choices in our lives. Also starring in the film is Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall. Not only will this film creep you out to no extent, but it will reaffirm the truths behind the effects of cruelty towards other people.
Jason Bateman is a successful business man who moves back to his hometown in California for his new job with his wife played by Rebecca Hall. On a choice encounter on their arrival, Simon (Bateman) runs into an old high school classmate named Gordo (Edgerton) who he doesn’t recognize at first. The choice encounters tend to take a more sinister turn that you would think are simple cliches to the thriller genre, but in fact, flip the cliches as often as your perception of what happens next.
Edgerton proved to me that he clearly is a film junkie and an extremely gifted visionary when it comes to delving into roles and even being a writer and also behind the camera. The atmospheric pressure brought to every scene in this film makes your stomach twist into a knot a boyscout would be impressed with and the performances enhance that tenfold. Bateman may be famous for the laughs he has brought us, but he, like most comedians, have a dark side and severely under-appreciated acting chops that he gets to set free in this movie. Rebecca Hall is also great portraying the honest, kindhearted, Robyn as her struggles to uncover the truth about this mysterious man, whether it’s Gordo or her husband.
The theme of: “troubled pasts can come back to haunt you” are apparent in the film all throughout and it makes you want to take a hot bath and apologize for stuff you probably didn’t even do. It’s an intense look on the cruelty of people and the effects in can have on those around you and that is something we forget in our world. The shots are so well done you would have thought it was a veteran director, but Edgerton proves he can not only be well crafted on screen, but behind it, but that isn’t to say his turn as Gordo isn’t terrifying. The calmness of the “crazy” characters is the most unsettling and you always are in fear of what they are going to do next.
I applaud everyone in this film and I would be sickened to find out that someone doesn’t take what this film has to say to heart. It’s a human tale with a reality that we tend to ignore. Sure, people may think the film is predictable with it’s set-ups, but let me tell you it isn’t, not even a little. It’s brilliant film making with equally great performances and is deserving of all of the praise it has gotten. It’s creepy, unnerving cinema that remixes the formula of the psychological thriller for 2015 and beyond in the best ways without becoming so unbelievable we are taken out of the film. I leave you with this, be the best person you can be and never be scared to do the right thing.