By Megan Bianco
Suffering from a misleading trailer, a lazy poster and a redundant title, The Gift is actually one of the most pleasant surprises of the last few weeks of the summer movie season. Not only is it an original and fresh suspense/thriller, but it’s written and directed by Australian character actor Joel Edgerton, recognizable in movies like Warrior (2011) and The Great Gatsby (2013). The actor must have been interested in working behind the camera for a while, as he knows exactly how to set up silent, tight tension and how to work with a cast of established actors.
Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn Callen (Rebecca Hall) are a married couple who decide to move back to Simon’s home state, California, for a better job opportunity. Within the first week in their new home, Simon runs into an old high school classmate, Gordon Mosley (Edgerton). After a decent dinner at the Callens’ house, it quickly becomes apparent Gordon wants to create a friendship with the couple when he begins sending them strange gifts and arranging bizarre meet-ups.
Allison Tolman co-stars. The Gift’s trailer plays off the movie as a possibly typical murder-mystery when in reality it’s more of a slow build on paranoia and suspicion. Bateman makes a successful return to dramatic acting since 2012’s Disconnect and Hall shows she’s still one of the most impressive, yet unfortunately overlooked, actresses of her generation. For a different, fascinating psychological thriller with a few jump-scares, The Gift is the one to watch this weekend.