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With: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton, Allison Tolman, Tim Griffin, Busy Philipps, Adam Lazarre-White, Beau Knapp, Wendell Pierce, Mirrah Foulkes, Nash Edgerton, David Denman, Katie Aselton, David Joseph Craig, Susan May Pratt
Written by: Joel Edgerton
Directed by: Joel Edgerton
MPAA Rating: R for language
Running Time: 108
Date: 08/07/2015

The Gift (2015)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Wrap Battles

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Making his feature directing debut, Joel Edgerton takes the old thriller formula about a creepy, psychotic intruder and, refreshingly, turns it upside down, giving it real-world weight and consequence.

Simon (Jason Bateman) has a good life. He has just landed a fancy new job and bought a new house with his pretty wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall); they hope to have a baby, though Robyn has already had one miscarriage. While shopping, they run into an old classmate of Simon's, the slightly strange Gordon "Gordo" Mosley (Joel Edgerton).

Gordo begins showing up and offering gifts, making attempts at friendship, but his presence gives Simon the creeps. After Gordo is caught in a lie, Simon tries to break it off with him. But Robyn learns that something terrible happened between the two men during high school, and that things are not as they seem.

As The Gift goes along, it hits all the expected beats, and Edgerton gets the viewer thinking: why won't this creepy guy leave this nice couple alone? But then, via some subtly skilled strokes, the viewer begins to think that, maybe the nice couple isn't so nice and maybe the creepy guy isn't so bad.

It's a welcome directorial debut for Edgerton, who is part of an Australian film collective that routinely makes intelligent, compelling films (Animal Kingdom, Wish You Were Here, etc.), largely in the crime genre; Edgerton has already worked on several screenplays (The Square, The Rover) and short films. As on the others, The Gift simply peers a little closer at the genre, and asks smart questions about what makes it human.

Note: not to be confused with Sam Raimi's The Gift, from 2000.

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