I must admit, I didn't know what to expect when I sat down to watch The Gift back at the beginning of August but it really was a terrific watch.
The Gift marked the feature film directorial debut for actor Joel Edgerton and he teamed up with Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall on the cast. It was a film that had you on the edge of your seat from start to finish
Simon (Bateman) and Robyn (Hall) are a young married couple whose life is going just as planned until a chance encounter with an acquaintance from Simon's high school sends their world into a harrowing tailspin. Simon doesn't recognize Gordo (Edgerton) at first, but after a seemingly coincidental series of encounters proves troubling, a horrifying secret from their past is uncovered after nearly 20 years. As Robyn learns the unsettling truth about what happened between Simon and Gordo, she starts to question: how well do we really know the people closest to us, and are past bygones ever really bygones?
There have been some terrific directorial debuts this year, but The Gift really is up there as one of the best and I cannot wait to see how Edgerton develops as both a filmmaker and a writer over the next few years - I think it has a very exciting directing career ahead of him should he choose to pursue it further.
From the moment that we meet the character of Gordo - played wonderfully by Edgerton - there is a tension and a sense of dread that hangs over the whole film. But Edgerton does not go for cheap thrills and scares, instead he cleverly builds that unease until the film crescendos in the fantastic third and final act.
The movie challenges audiences expectations and turns the idea of the film's villain on its head. When the credits roll, everyone is left asking a lot of questions... did he? Or didn't he? I guess that is why this psychological thriller works so well.
Edgerton is terrific as Gordo. At times, you think he is a man who has simply been misunderstood and at other moments, he displays real darkness as he sets out on his quest for revenge.
Jason Bateman also gives a great performance as Simon, a man who you think you know... but it turns out he has a dark past and he is not the kind of person you and his wife thinks he is. The scenes between Edgerton and Bateman really are full of tension and you see that there is a darkness in both of these characters. The moment of revenge is just devastating and Bateman captures Simon's despair perfectly.
I have always been a fan of the psychological thriller and The Gift is the best film in this genre to hit the big screen in recent years.
When The Gift starts, you think that you know where it is going... but Edgerton takes the audience down a very different path and delivers a very strong and powerful message about bullying along the way.
It is hard to believe that The Gift is Edgerton's directorial debut as it is a movie that is a slick and clever film that unwinds gradually and keeps you hooked.
I really can't wait to see what Edgerton does next as a filmmaker but I hope he continues to make movies that are as terrific as The Gift. This is a tense movie that is packed with twists and turns and is a must-see if you are a fan of this genre.
Take a look at our Best Movies of 2015 countdown so far:
Tagged in Joel Edgerton