The Gift review
Don’t you hate it when your on Facebook when you receive a friend request from some that that says they knew you in school, yet you draw a black when you try to remember them? Reconnecting with old friends or even people from school tends be something of an interest. While I may not flat out meet them for coffee to catch up, I at least like knowing if they made something of themselves. Did any student government officials ever go further in politics? Did the class poet ever try to publish something? Did the mathletee ever become an engineer. That’s what social media pages are for these days.
I also think about once high school ends, the positions of geek, bully, jock, and many other labels are suddenly dropped from your personality. When I see those old souls on Facebook, I try to see them as functional adults, yet part of me still sees their role from school. Even if the bully-like jock became a ballet dancer, I’d still see them as the jock more then anything. The story of The Gift is all about reconnections. Some reunions are nice while what we see here is much darker and sinister.
A couple, Simon (played by Jason Bateman) and Robyn (played by Rachel Hall) has just moved from Chicago to Los Angeles with two purposes; Simon has accepted a new job and they’re both getting away from a miscarriage that has troubled Robyn into prescription drugs. While getting some home decorations, Simon runs into Gordo (played by Joel Edgerton), an old high school classmate that was known as “Gordo the Weirdo”. While a little socially awkward, Gordo seemed sound enough for Simon to say, “I’ll see you around”. Gordo pays a visit to Robyn, getting a tour of the house and is eve invited to have dinner.
Gordo in return invites the couple to his place. Simon still senses some odd behavior from Gordo and promptly tells him that he doesn’t want to be friends and doesn’t want him at his house. In the next couple of days, Robyn become paranoid that Gordo may be targeting the couple as their dog goes missing and the koi fish in their pond are killed. Simon places all the blame on Gordo for being weird, but Robyn starts to get other sides of the story from other high school friends to understand something that she doesn’t know about Simon.
I have to stop there as I would ruin the full enjoyment for those that haven’t seen The Gift. Most stalker stories tend to revolve around a strange character following someone until a fight ensures. This one throws more surprises and even plays around with conventions on how we see people. Perhaps are villains may be sound or maybe our heroes are truly evil. Joel Edgerton also wrote and directed this story that’s not only scary, but intriguing with the many directions that it takes.
Jason Bateman balances out his determined workaholic personality with his backstabbing attitude well enough for us to say that we know at least one person in out lives that act this way. Joel Edgerton is just as creepy, but enough of a sad guy that we feel sorry for him. I’m surprised to say that The Gift belongs to Rachel Hall. She is the buffer between Simon and Gordo and must act accordingly if she wants the truth. The gift feels a lot like a Hitchcock-esqe story much like Fatal Attraction. It’s defiantly scary, but I would put this in the thriller-mystery category.
I’ll give this four and a half gift boxes out of five. The Gift is truly a gift; it’s half scary thriller and other half interesting character study. This is one of my biggest surprises of the summer. If you’re spooked easily by this material, skip it, but I beg you to give it a chance.