I almost didn't watch a movie last night. I will be finished with the book I have been reading lately soon, so I almost waiting in order to do that review. I got pretty bored though and changed my mind about it. Plus I/m on a mission to get enough posts in so I can at least tie my all-time lowest post count for a year. I did get another review done on my other blog. If interested, check out my review for Late Night Double Feature. I might have a slight change of plans for here. I was going to go back to my old way of doing reviews, but I might be changing up my cable and internet with a different company. If I do, I want to get the movies I have saved on my DVR watched before that happens. I might just make a run through them, starting with today's review for The Gift (2015).
Simon (Jason Bateman) and his wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall) are out shopping with Gordo (Joel Edgerton) stops and says he knows Simon. It takes Simon a bit to realize who Gordo is but then remembers him from high school. After talking for a bit, they part ways thinking that is the end of it. But Gordo begins showing up and Simon's house, often having a gift for them. Simon thinks that Gordo likes Robyn and teases her about it some. They get invited over to Gordo's house where Simon eventually tells Gordo that he thinks it would be best if Gordo would stop coming around. The next day Robyn finds their fish dead. Simon heads to Gordo's house and discovers it isn't Gordo's house at all. Gordo has something planned for Simon and Robyn but what is it?
I remember a lot of people making a big deal about The Gift after it came out, but I never seemed to get around to watching it. I discovered it was on one of the movie channels that I get and I recorded it, but again, I never seemed to get around to it. I'm glad that I did at long last. The Gift was written, directed, and stars Joel Edgerton. The story for this film is actually pretty interesting. We know that Gordo seems kind of nice, but he acts rather weird and it is hard to figure out what his intentions are. It is obvious that Simon and Gordo knew each other, but they don't come across as being friends. This has nothing to do with them not seeing each other for 30 years. Simon doesn't seem to be even slightly interested in getting to know Gordo now, so it was easy to assume they weren't friends in school either. We eventually learn that something happened to Gordo back then that becomes a very big deal in the small town that they lived in and it involved Simon somehow. So there is this bit of a mystery going on that unravels as Robyn digs into Simon and Gordo's past. What Gordo ends up doing is a bit overboard, I thought so anyway, but the ending will be fun to discuss with friends. Is Gordo justified? Does Simon get what he deserves? The things that are revealed about Simon makes you wonder if he does deserve what ends up happening to him. As interesting as the story is though, it is really the acting that made this a much watch for me.
Outside of some cuts, there isn't much going on as far as special effects. However, Edgerton isn't trying for a gory movie here. Instead, he shoots and succeeds in creating a tension-filled thriller. It is easy to feel tense while watching The Gift because one is never sure if Gordo or someone else is messing with Simon and Robyn or if it is just noises in the house. It ends up being very effective. The acting was very good here. I was never much of a Jason Bateman fan growing up. I didn't really hate his acting, it just never did much for me. Lately, that has changed. He was outstanding here, especially when showing a bit of a mean streak in his character. I loved him in Bad Words for the same reason. It is cool to see him break away from comedy some. Rebecca Hall was also very good but I felt like she was a bit underused at times. I didn't always like Joel Edgerton in his role, but at the same time, he could have taken it too far over the top and he never did that.
One thing I liked about the story was how the advancement of time took place. We catch glimpses of what is happening over time with Simon and Robyn in a well-done way. It feels like a natural flow of time but you can see that months are being skipped over. This was done with showing Christmas stuff being put up, giving Simon a surprise present and showing how Robyn is changing as time goes by. These changes also play into what happens at the end of the film. Edgerton leaves this part of the ending open for the viewer to decide what happened, but the alternate ending will clear it up. Either way, Simon and Gordo are not the nicest guys around so I can see some people being turned off because of that. Even though I thought that the ending when a bit too far with things, I still enjoyed it a lot. It was the acting that made me love the film, especially Bateman. If you have yet to check this film out, perhaps you should. It isn't really a horror film, but the tension is still high in this great little thriller. Give it a look when you can if you haven't already.
4 out of 5 I love gifts! Feel free to give me some.