The Gift

The Gift: A Grim Package

Acclaimed actor Joel Edgerton debuts his directing and writing skills in a most fascinating and equally troublesome manner.

I am going to make this short and cut right to the chase; this film is extraordinarily well done.  Young director Edgerton has crafted a dramatic thriller that truly respects its audience. He doesn’t throw in cheap blood, jump scenes, or clichés that can be found in any old-school Hollywood mystery. His writing is a revelation when it comes to constant unease and uncertainty as you must decipher the ugly truth. Great writing, directing, editing and of course acting, makes for a captivating display of mature film-making. In fact, you might even see me brag on this film come Oscar season for its many acting accomplishments. Jason Bateman and Joel Edgerton both impress in their nonconventional performances when it compares to what people usually come to expect from them. Rebecca Hall likewise does a stunning job in her leading role, which definitely is Oscar worthy (though could go unnoticed). There is absolutely nothing to critique on a technical and thrilling level; it is perfect. What is not so perfect is the film itself…

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I should also point out that the film has a very important lesson of how ones’ past sins are far from buried when you refuse to resolve that which is within your reach. It goes along with Proverbs 11:21, “Assuredly, the evil man will not go unpunished, but the descendants of the righteous will be delivered.” Which works great as both a warning and an assurance to those who deserve what is just. But with this in mind, I want to state that I am going to reveal practically nothing about the plot, and I believe the following paragraph should explain my reasoning.

I am going to admit to a double standard and/or hypocritical fact. I do enjoy watching films with darker premises and characters that show a menacing presence. Last year in fact I enjoyed Nightcrawler and Gone Girl (with gobs and gobs of Clearplay/Vidangel), possibly to a fault. I am also a big time fan of classic thrillers, specifically those by Alfred Hitchcock. But I must state, I haven’t been this disturbed by a film in quite some time. While the film stayed clear from almost any violence, the film’s themes and twists led to some very dark places indeed. It should be noted as well that I viewed this one on Clearplay (per usual), thanks to the 20+ F Bombs dropped.

(L-R) REBECCA HALL, JASON BATEMAN and JOEL EDGERTON star in THE GIFT

Like I said, I am going to post this “review” here with zero plot-line summary; the reason being that if one decides to watch this film, it is best viewed with little-to-no prior information. Edgerton does a terrific job of leading you down a road that keeps you in suspense and concern for the characters, and it is best not to ruin that vagueness. But it is a road many should not go down. I can’t quite say I regret viewing this film, based on its technical merit and fascinating story telling, but I am right on the edge of that confession. The despair-drenched tale, the broken and realistic characters with almost zero redeeming qualities (aside from one), and the horrifying conclusion all lead to one somber reflection, use discretion when opening this package.

Andrew Warnes

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