Big Screen: The Gift
September 10th 2015
The Gift continues Joel Edgerton’s obsessive analysis of frowny-faced middle-class white dudes in the grip of some moral or ethical crisis.
As an actor, Edgerton is super versatile — drifting from warrior to Gatsby to looking like an absolute maniac in that Ridley Scott bible movie — but he’s not versatile enough to play a bald egyptian god/king.
The movies which he has some personal stake in, whether asa writer or director or in this case both, always seem to feature some mopey guy who makes or has made some horrific decision and then spends the whole movie being tortured or punished for it. The Square, Wish You Were Here, Felony, and now The Gift all sing some variation of this same song, so the question I was pondering after this movie is what the hell did Joel Edgerton do that he feels so guilty about?!
He probably ran over someone’s dog and or something and now he’s working through his guilt by making slick morality thrillers.
The good news is he’s getting better at them.
The Gift has Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall playing a smart and successful couple struggling to start a family that return to where Jason’s character grew up to take on a new job.
They also buy a big house with lots of glass windows, which is often a bad idea for people with secrets.
Bateman happens to run into an old school buddy named Gordo, played by Edgerton, who starts bringing him gifts, hanging around, and generally making it all a little creepy.
This is a small and simple little movie with a great cast. Hall and Edgerton are really good but I especially enjoyed Bateman playing it straight. I was pretty tired of his put-upon exasperated comic persona and was not thrilled to see his name on the movie poster, but he has some real chops when he is given half a chance. There are a few creepy and tense moments but you sense that Edgerton is not really interested in that stuff and would prefer just to watch his characters squirm while paying for their sins. He really likes punishing people. I can only hope he finds some peace. Overall, you don’t need to rush out to see this one, but it had its moments. If you’re looking around for something to watch, The Gift is worth a look.
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MORE FROM SAM CLARK:
Big Screen :: Mission Impossible Rogue Nation
Little Screen :: Winter Film Guide
Big Screen :: Mad Max: Fury Road
Sam Clark is FBi’s answer to Margaret & David. Check out his Big Screen reviews.Read more from Sam Clark