Written by guest contributor Cameron Gallagher
The Gift is one of those movies that I would refer to as an mis-marketed “Ego” movie. And by this I feel like this film came about by Joel Edgerton saying “Hey, I should write a movie where I’m a creepy guy, who is maybe good and bad and make it a plot twist…. yeah” So I’m not trying to hate on this film just yet, but the best way to summarize this film, is it felt forced. This film was marketed as though it should be a “Stalker” film, but in the end became like propaganda.
The Gift is about a married couple, where the husband runs into a weird old friend, who basically ends up stalking them. This film was praised at the box office and other review sites, but I’m honestly not sure why. The Gift felt so forced in every way. Let’s start at the script.
The script felt very forced in that it needed to be this “Psycho/Stalker” film with a plot twist, that in the end makes a bullying statement. It was very predictable. From the first moment the movie started and we introduce the main conflict, it was apparent that there was going to be a twist. But… the twist was honestly cliché. I knew it was coming the whole time and didn’t feel like there was any creativity in the plot behind what they were doing. It felt so much like Joel Edgerton was trying so hard to make a suspenseful stalker film with a plot twist and theme behind it all, but it was honestly boring, predictable, and seemed to try to highlight his acting, more than the plot.
The BIGGEST issue with this film is in its technicality. The is probably the worst edited film I have ever seen. Now although this seems like it would be a small issue, I found it amateur and obnoxious at times. I felt like half the cuts in this film were either too long or way to short. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE long shots, but this film seemed like it was trying to convey more emotion, just by holding a shot down. The same goes for cinematography. It was boring and felt sloppy at times. There even was an audio issue in one scene with Jason Bateman’s mic, which I assume was hidden in his clothing.
But, enough hate. Jason Bateman was awesome. Probably his best performance so far. He truly was convincing in his character, despite it being a weak written character. He truly did make this film for me. Not enough to outweigh the bad, but he definitely made it more interesting.
All in all, The Gift is a suspenseful film, that I feel falls flat on its face when it comes to creating an intriguing plot, and not seem like a Bullying Statement. I will give The Gift 2/5 just for Jason Bateman. Make sure to check it out for yourself and tell me what you thought!
The Gift Director: Joel Edgerton Writer: Joel Edgerton Studio: Blumhouse Productions and Blue-Tongue Films Runtime: 108 Minutes Release Date: 7/30/15