The Gift: Joel Edgerton’s Psychological Thriller is Ultra Realistic & Profoundly Twisted [Review]

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From director Joel Edgerton and STX Entertainment/Blumhouse Productions comes psychological thriller The Gift. Starring Joel Edgerton, Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall, the film is currently playing in theatres now.

When married couple Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) unexpectedly encounter Gordo (Joel Edgerton), an acquaintance from Simon’s past, little do they know that their perfect lives will be thrown into a terrifying tailspin. At first, Simon doesn’t recognize Gordo, but after a troubling series of uninvited encounters and mysterious gifts, a horrifying secret emerges. 

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Who knew actor Joel Edgerton was a man of so many wonderful hats? The guy wrote, starred in and directed The Gift — which thankfully kicked a tremendous amount of ass. Before you go into see this and trust me that you really must — don’t watch any previews. The Gift works best when you have no idea what to expect because there are several twists and turns that may end up ruined if you sit through some of the trailers. So once you go in blind, be ready to enjoy one of the most twisted and intense psychological suspense films in years.

Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall play a married couple who move to the city to start new lives. We get hints that their past may be a troubled one as they try to settle into their new surroundings. During some furniture shopping, Bateman’s character Simon bumps into an old highschool acquaintance by the name of Gordo (Edgerton). This guy is extremely persistent and after their chance encounter, he begins to show up uninvited and present his old ‘pal’ several housewarming gifts.

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If you enjoy awkward dinner conversations, The Gift has one of the strangest… This might be one of Edgerton’s greatest performances, if not his very best. He plays creepy so well that you forget that he’s even being bizarre because he does it so naturally. Bateman, who is known for his comedic roles, plays serious this time and he does it perfectly. In some of the movie’s most tense sequences, Bateman truly sells the scenes and shows just how well rounded of a performer he is. Rebecca Hall probably gets the most screentime of the trio and I loved how she played her part, thankfully avoiding most housewife story tropes.

The way Edgerton wrote and directed The Gift truly sets it apart from most thrillers because the tone and content here come off as ultra-realistic. The horror, the suspense, the drama, the conversations are all very grounded in believable scenarios and even when the film ratchets up towards the climax — every step we’ve taken to get there naturally felt like it could happen to any of us watching this disturbing situation unfold.

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To say ‘why’ exactly The Gift is so good would likely ruin it, but I will tell you that not everything is what it seems. Even when you start to get what I mean as the pieces come together, you still won’t be ready for Gordo’s final gift. It was a doozy… Brilliant and well grounded performances with the clever writing and sharp directing from Edgerton make The Gift one of 2015’s most welcome surprises. I’m looking forward to more of this guy’s work behind the camera because he took what could have been your typical suspense drama and warped the hell out of it until it became something profoundly twisted.

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