“The Gift” (2015) – Review by Clay Bloodworth

The Gift clay review

‘The Gift’ thoroughly entertaining

One of the best feelings you can have while sitting in a movie theater, having chosen something you weren’t necessarily looking forward to, is to have your expectations greatly exceeded. This was the sort of situation I was in with “The Gift”. By no means was I anxiously awaiting its release, nor did I expect to enjoy it all that much as I paid and took my seat. But low and behold, I was thoroughly entertained and thrilled for the extent of its runtime. Once the first eerie frames flashed onto the screen and I got a glimpse of the kind-of experience I might have, I was in.

In a sense, the film seems almost plucked out of the 90’s. It’s one of those well-executed thrillers that you might expect would star someone like Michael Douglas in his prime. It focuses on a newly-married couple who, after an encounter with an old high school ‘buddy’ of the husband’s, begin receiving mysterious gifts and run-ins with this same peculiar man. Simon and Robyn (played by Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall) – the pair in question – try their best to handle the bizarre events as they begin to get weirder and weirder. But as the film unfolds, and the truth comes out, these strange occurrences take on a whole new meaning.

It’s definitely one of the most entertaining movies I’ve seen all summer, and the performances are downright fantastic. Joel Edgerton, who also wrote and directed the film, gets some massive screen-time of his own as the mystifying acquaintance that shakes everything up. It’s a wonder that he’s able to be so present and immersed in this character while also seeing that his own material is fully realized on-screen. He’s created a movie that will get inside the viewer’s head and, in my case, even make them jump out of their seat a few times. It’s one of those extremely satisfying movie experiences that sneaks up on you, proving that a compelling story is really all you need to make an engrossing film. “The Gift” is now playing in theaters everywhere.

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