The Gift (2015) - Twisted mixture of a drama, psycho thriller and horror movie - 9/10 (21/09/15)
''The Gift'' is one of the very best movies in a so far rather disappointing cinematic year 2015. The low-budget production lives from its strong acting and twisted plot that comes around with creative ideas and unpredictable surprises from start to finish. The dialogues, effects and locations are realistic and make this a very authentic, credible and realistic movie. Don't let the rather generic trailer and the seemingly ordinary synopsis fool you.
The movie kicks off like a rather usual psycho thriller. A young and successful couple portrayed by gifted actors Rebecca Hall and Jason Bateman just moved back to California and organizes its new life. The fragile Robyn and the self-confident Simon have just purchased a gorgeous new home, Simon has found a promising job where he might get promoted soon and Robyn starts working on a few new things at home. One afternoon, the couple meets the socially awkward Gordo, played by the unpredictable Joel Edgerton who really steals the show, who is an old classmate of Simon. He seems to be very kind to the couple but Simon refuses to develop a friendly relationship to him. Gordo though gently insists and starts offering expensive gifts to the couple. Robyn has a heart for the charming outsider and convinces her husband to invite him for dinner but things don't stop there. Soon, Gordo starts taking a lot of space in their lives, stalks the insecure Robyn and offers more and more expensive gifts to her and Simon. At this point, the audience starts to realize how fragile the relationship between Robyn and Simon really is. They are constantly debating and rarely agreeing with each other. Simon feels forced to take a radical decision and tells Gordo to leave them alone for good.
That's where the movie starts to become a gripping horror movie. Gordo seemingly continues to stalk the couple and weird things start happening to them. Their fishes die, their dog disappears and Robyn feels constantly observed when she is home alone. At one moment, she even seems to have a nervous breakdown and starts taking strong medication. The relationship between Robyn and Simon decreases as she seems to be too weak to turn the page and Simon too egocentric to really care about his wife's concerns.
At that moment, the movie takes another turn. The couple's dog comes back and is alive and kicking. Robyn realizes that she is pregnant and Simon soon gets promoted. Everything seems too perfect to be true and as a matter of fact, the movie soon turns into a twisted drama as the past comes back to haunt both Robyn and Simon. The audience soon discovers more and more about the mysterious past of Gordo, Robyn and Simon and after a while the thin line between potential culprits and victims seems to disappear.
Even though my short summary might seem detailed to you, it only gives away some minor details about one of the best plots in the psycho thriller genre of the past five years. The movie doesn't stop to come around with new surprises and a more and more convincing acting. Each time the movie seems to take a break, the menacing atmosphere comes back with a sudden bang and plays with the anticipation, emotions and perceptions of the audience. You can't let go off the film and even the unusual and controversial ending will stay on your mind for a quite long time. If you like this highly recommendable movie of the year candidate, make sure to check out the clever French film noir gem ''The Serpent'' by Eric Barbier that is quite similar to this film but different enough to be worth to be discovered.« ''At times overloaded with epic keyboard layers'': A review of Stratovarius' ''Eternal''My trip from Hull to Aylmer »
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