With a lot of anticipation fueled by the curiosity of seeing another talented actor get behind the camera, I was eager to see “The Gift.” I wasn’t let down a bit. It slowly unwraps into a first-class, suspense tale that is a blend between old-fashioned American thriller and a modern European drama. For a summer dominated by remakes, reboots, and sequels, it is refreshing to see a low-key movie receiving such advanced praise that is high quality and receiving a wide release.
Cinematics (Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.) – 5
“The Gift” is quite a staggering filmmaking (directorial) debut for emerging actor Joel Edgerton. He did a tremendous job behind the camera as well as in front of it. Mr. Edgerton as Gordo the Weirdo encompassed a lonely and desperate man burdened by his past. You wonder what is going on inside his mind and want as many details from him as possible. Jason Bateman also stretches himself in a dramatic, and at times, emotionally charged role. It was the most unexpected moments in the movie and surprises from “The Gift” comes from his character flaws. Ditto on Rebecca Hall as his wife overcoming trauma from their past life in Chicago. From a technical standpoint, I admired the long shots and the meticulous slower pace that develops stories and characters and never drags.
Entertainment Value – 4
I was constantly entertained trying to follow the movie hoping to connect the dots for possible twists. Audiences are likely to fall under its spell and find a few things to admire from genuine suspense to solid acting. “The Gift” is a sophisticated thriller adult audiences will appreciate as well as people who enjoy watching a thrilling movie. Watching “The Gift” felt like an escape from the current reality like very few movies do. I was anxious during the entire running time, which didn’t make me feel the best. It will keep audiences on the edge of your seat. It wasn’t so much “scary,” but it was consistently unsettling. One should have a very good time watching “The Gift.”
Rewatchability – 4
This is tricky, because once you know what happens, it could be challenging to re-watch a movie with a few unexpected plot turns and still find it interesting. Re-watching movies like “The Gift” allows audiences to catch for clues that they might have missed. Low budget thrillers/horror movies released in August with third act twists include Oscar nominated classics (“The Sixth Sense”), ghoulish cult classics (“The Descent”), guilty pleasures (“The Skeleton Key”), and campy festival midnighters (“You’re Next”). Studios take a chance with August releases which has transformed the past few years from a barren movie month to unexpected cinematic treasures. For a brand new studio, STX Entertainment should be very proud of their first release which takes chances and pays off tremendously.
- Entertainment Value
A moody thriller, The Gift unwraps genuine intensity and pure escapism to audiences.