The Gift

gift_ver3***1/2 (out of five)

One thing, straight off the bat: don’t watch the trailer for The Gift. It ruins the movie. If I’d seen the trailer before the movie, I wouldn’t have bothered to see the movie.

And you should see the movie. It’s very good, a slick, well-constructed and original take on a trustworthy sub-genre of psychological thriller: the creepy guy who turns up in a nice couple’s lives, seems nice, probably isn’t. Joel Edgerton’s screenplay is less complex than his for Felony (2013), but more mature than that of The Square (2008); it’s a canny blend of originality and commercial appeal (and indeed, the film has been doing extremely well at box offices around the world – Edgerton, who also directed in his feature directing debut, can now expect plenty of scripts offered his way).

Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall play the nice couple, Edgerton (triple threat!) the creepy guy who pops into their lives. Bateman in particular is sensational, displaying colours he’s never shown before; he’s truly maturing into a really fine actor. Hall is excellent too, so comfortable in playing Americans now it’s weird to think of her as Sir Peter Hall’s daughter.

Edgerton has really hit a six with this one, economically, artistically and creatively; Hollywood will be his oyster, at least until his next one. In the meantime, we the audience get to benefit from this clever spin on a trusted formula; for goodness’ sake, see it before you see the trailer.

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