‘The Gift’ is a mystery thriller starring Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall and is the directorial debut for Joel Edgerton who also starred in the film. The film had a very creepy and suspenseful tone for most of the movie that has you on the edge of your seat. I will say right out of the gate that if you fall asleep easily and aren’t into slower films this is probably something you might not last through, because to create that suspense the film is a very slow burn for pretty much the entire film.
For the first hour of the film i was completely engaged and the creepy tone had my full attention, the film had me trying to guess what would happen next only to prove me wrong on most occasions. It was a great unpredictable ride right until that one hour mark where it almost looks like someone else took the reigns and steered the film in another direction. For the whole second act it ditches the the suspense for 30 minutes of strict character development with some development of the main plot that answers a question that could have been answered in like 5-10 minutes with the same resulting effects. This imbalance really damaged the film and the sudden switch in tone felt more like a lifetime drama with a hint of mystery than a straight up mystery thriller.
The film does manage to revert back to the creepy and unsettling mysterious tones in what resulted in an incredible final 15 minutes that had me in awe. The first hour of the film in combination with the fantastic finale shows that Joel Edgerton can do a really good job at creating a film with good tone, characters and plot that work really well together, but that drop off in the second act shows that he still has a little more to learn in the art of directing.
Lets now move on to the cast and their performances, to me, i thought the whole cast were pretty great and it was a relatively small cast with only Jason Bateman, Joel Edgerton, and Rebecca Hall playing characters you will remember. They all did a great job at playing their characters and they didn’t feel cliche and acted very natural and how you would think some people would react in these situations. Joel Edgerton proved his acting skills again as he nailed that fine line between creepy and generous that had me second guessing myself an many many moments. I was particularly curious to see if Jason Bateman could take on this very serious role and execute it well, as we are used to seeing him in more strictly comedic roles. And now i have to believe that he will be getting more of these roles in the future because of this very convincing performance playing a character who gets more and more interesting as the film goes on, and just as the character got more interesting Jason was getting better and better.
In the end, this indie mystery thriller is a good example why indie films are becoming some of the best films to release this year and can really go up against the big blockbusters. – 7.5