Poster

The Gift is impressive only in the sense that it’s written and directed by Joel Edgerton—who also co-stars opposite Jason Bateman. Do not mistake this for a good movie. The fact that The Gift shares the same score with less rotten reviews as Sicario on Rotten Tomatoes is an infuriating joke.

And this is a prime example why a lot of critics are terrible. I’m not touting myself as anything special, but I provide my honest opinion on each movie. I don’t get that sense with some critics. Case in point, critics are inventing reasons not to like Sicario even though it is legitimately great in every facet imaginable. Meanwhile, this same crop of shitty, self-obsessed critics on Rotten Tomatoes can’t stop themselves from fawning over this mediocre movie. You’ve seen The Gift and many other similar movies before.

There is nothing special about The Gift. The script is uneventful. The acting is decent. The directing isn’t particularly noteworthy, and you can say the same thing about everything else. It is a thrilling mystery that fails to thrill or captivate with the supposed mystery. You know where this is going the whole time.

Or maybe it’s just me. Perhaps I am the stale fart stench lingering in the room.

In my opinion, I think that odor is emanating from The Gift. When you build your entire movie around a twist (or series of twists), the whole set-up is rendered meaningless if the twist fails. I learned that lesson from M. Night Shyamalan movies a long time ago. This movie lost my faith long before the turn.

The Gift borders on interesting, but wanders nowhere and meanders to a semi-resolution.

Jason Bateman

I don’t enjoy talking about bad movies. However, there are very few redeeming qualities and virtually nothing memorable about The Gift. One of the best parts of this movie is Jason Bateman’s performance as Simon. Bateman lays it on thick with his character’s dickish nature, but I still found him more likeable than Gordo—played by writer/director Joel Edgerton. Gordo is an annoying oddball.

The unraveling is unsatisfying, and the story lazily ventures into a routine damsel in distress rut. The Gift is essentially an uncomfortable pissing contest between two pricks. Simon’s wife, Robyn—played by Rebecca Hall—is the only person nice to Gordo, but she becomes a way to hurt Simon. A means to an end. I’m sure that made feminists real happy that the woman is a pawn in a man’s game. I don’t care about that, but Rebecca Hall was just the worst and easily the weak link in terms of performances.

Why hurt or even threaten to hurt the one caring, compassionate person?

Rebecca Hall

I imagine the intention of Edgerton was to create an ambiguous moral play. However, the character decisions are stupefying and downright dumb at times. Although I feel like the adoration is undeserved, clearly The Gift has found an audience. This movie is not in the same stratosphere as Sicario.

If you like run-of-the-mill horror mysteries, then by all means enjoy the bland, flavorless taste of The Gift. I don’t want to mimic the long, drawn-out proceedings of The Gift so I’ll just say you can find a better movie. The aforementioned M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit is flawed in its own manner yet mildly better and considerably more entertaining than this joyless romp that gave me no gift.

Joel Edgerton shows that he’s capable with The Gift—more importantly, capable of better.

No Gift

2 out of 5 stars

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