The Gift (2015)
Directed by Joel Edgerton
“The Gift” is the gift that keeps on giving…granted, these gifts come in the form of nervous glances over your shoulder while you’re sitting on your couch writing a review of “The Gift.” But still, something so disturbing isn’t easily left in the theater.
Joel Edgerton, in his directing debut, plays Gordo Mosely, a socially awkward handyman who never moved away from his California hometown. When Gordo’s old high school friend Simon (Jason Bateman) moves back to the area with his wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall) and their dog, Gordo reaches out. But successful sales rep Simon isn’t too keen on this new friendship, or Gordo’s apparent fascination with Robyn. But when Simon honestly confronts Gordo—a friendly breakup—Gordo’s true intentions finally begin to reveal themselves.
Like most thrillers, “The Gift” begins slowly. Gordo is uncomfortable, at most. But by the end, “The Gift” leaves your stomach twisted. It’s beyond disturbing—it’s chilling. I shudder just thinking about it. Edgerton gets a lot of the credit, but not just for his role—besides directing, he also wrote the f*cked-up script. Still, Gordo is an enigmatic foil to Simon and Robyn. Bateman showed in the massively underrated “Disconnected” that he’s more than capable of realistic drama. When the tensions rise, Bateman shines. He plays normal well, but Simon isn’t all that he seems. Rebecca Hall (“The Town”) is the voice of reason in a film that might have gotten out of hand without it. And Allison Tolman (excellent in the first season of “Fargo”) provides much needed minor support as Robyn’s friendly neighbor Lucy.
Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “A friend is a gift you give yourself.” For Simon and Robyn, Gordo is one gift they could have done without. Thankfully for us, Gordo made sure that wasn’t the case. “The Gift” makes you think it’s a relationship thriller in the vein of “Fatal Attraction,” but eventually you realize you couldn’t be more wrong.