Triple-threat (writer, director, and actor) Joel Edgerton delivers a tight no-frills suspense thriller that comes complete with a noteworthy twist ending that will have audiences buzzing. Featuring an exquisite cast that includes Allison Tolman (of television’s “Fargo” fame), the back-loaded narrative finds everyman Simon (Jason Bateman) moving into an architecturally pleasing house with his wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall).
That their vista-complete home sits mere miles away from where Simon grew up proves to be more a stumbling block for the couple’s plans of having a baby and living a normal life. Gordo (played by Edgerton) went to middle school with Simon, but his memories of their juvenile days together aren’t so fond. A chance meeting in a housewares store puts the socially awkward Gordo in touch with Simon and Robyn. They take down Gordo’s number, but the polite interaction gives “Gordo-the-weirdo” cause to drop off a doorstep gift that leads to a series of unsolicited presents and unannounced visits. Gordo gets in the habit of stopping by to hang out with Robyn during the day when Simon is away at his well-paid day job.
Edgerton flips audience expectations as the creepy Gordo’s reasons for being the messed up individual he is become painfully clear. Aside from a few gratuitously heavy-handed shocks, “The Gift” is an original thriller tied up with a thematic bow about how everyone reaps what he or she sows. Karma is everywhere you look.
Rated R. 108 mins. (B+) (Three Stars - out of five/no halves)