Title: The Gift
Director: Joel Edgerton
Writer: Joel Edgerton
Stars: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton
Release Date: In cinemas now
Review by Dave Griffiths
Australians have come to know and love Joel Edgerton over the years. He started winning people over with his portrayal of the kind-hearted Will in hit television series The Secret Life Of Us and then after a few Australian films made it big in the U.S. where he has recently appeared in blockbusters like Exodus: Gods And Kings. What most people don’t realise is that Edgerton is also a talented writer who has given us gems like Felony, The Square and The Rover over the years. Now Edgerton surprises everybody by taking on all hats (actor, director and writer) in one of the films of the year – The Gift.
Now there are many run-of-the-mill thrillers out there but The Gift is not one of them. The films sees married couple Simon (Jason Bateman – Horrible Bosses) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall – The Town) move to California to further Simon’s career where they have a chance meeting with one of Simon’s former school ‘friends’ Gordo (Joel Edgerton – The Great Gatsby). The couple soon finds themselves forced into a friendship with Gordo until Simon puts a stop to it… something he is soon regretting.
Edgerton soon announces himself as a director in the vein of Alfred Hitchcock with The Gift. The film’s well written script leaves the audience wondering what the hell will happen next as it seems nothing is off limits to Gordo – fish, dogs and humans seem all the same to him. Edgerton lets the tension simmer and rise throughout the film and then expertly hits his audience with a series of twists that completely throws everything the audience thought they knew right out the window. Characters and what you thought of them is completely changed and this steps up becoming a psychological thriller on a whole new level as Edgerton brilliantly pushes the envelope and makes this a film a little bit more nasty than what you would expect from a film of this genre showing in a multiplex.
The great script allows the cast to put in some memorable performances. Rebecca Hall cruises through her role of the grieving Robyn while Jason Bateman makes a welcome return to a serious role and pulls of the brutal Simon so well you could easily forget that this is the same guy that has been making his name as a comedy actor over the last few years. Then there’s Edgerton who is so creepy as Gordo that he makes it a given that the name Gordo The Weirdo will now join the list of famous film psychopaths.
The Gift not only shows the world that Joel Edgerton is a triple threat but also cements itself as one of the best films of the year.