Known primarily for his performances in Warrior, Zero Dark Thirty and The Great Gatsby; Australian actor, Joel Edgerton, has always been a fantastic on-screen presence, forever on the brink of a-lister greatness.
Over the past couple of years however, Edgerton has proved himself to be a far more interesting prospect behind the camera. Last year we had the strange and intense post apocalyptic drama, The Rover, which Edgerton wrote, and now we have the equally disturbing The Gift, which he acts in as well as writes and directs.
Jason Bateman – proving here that he’s a tremendously multitalented performer when given the right material – and Rebecca Hall play a wealthy couple, Simon and Robyn, who move back to Simon’s hometown due to his work.
It isn’t long until they come across Gordon – played by an unsettling and unrecognisable Edgerton – an old school mate of Simon’s, who used to be nicknamed ‘Gordo the weirdo’. What starts out as a relationship out of politeness, soon turns sinister when Gordo starts turning up at their house unannounced and leaving them gifts.
A genuinley unnerving 90’s style thriller about the secrets that we hide in plain sight; not everything is what it seems in The Gift . Playing out like a grown-up’s game of pass the parcel, the film’s tension grows and grows as each layer is peeled back to reveal a new twist, until the film’s final stomach-turning reveal.
Looking at The Gift in terms of modern day psychological thrillers and horror, it’s a remarkable beast in that it feels fresh and old at the same time. Edgerton, an actor who’s obviously cine-literate uses the blueprint of successful stalker films and constructs a new and disturbing story around it.
Despite, on occasion, drifting into jump scare territory, Edgerton’s script feels more like a slow and quiet human drama packaged as a thriller – and whilst I was expecting a slasher-type ending to the film, I was pleased that it ended on a much more unconventional and darker note.
Brilliantly conceived and laced with metaphors – glass and reflection is recurring theme, tying in nicely to the film’s ideas of perception – as well as an ambiguity that will cause great discussion afterwards, perhaps the most impressive thing about The Gift is Edgerton himself.
His script and direction of this shows off a brilliant talent whose future in film could prove very exciting. It’s a well made and well acted thriller that could just well be this year’s biggest surprise.
A Image credit to http://www.impawards.com