THE GIFT | REVIEW

A couple of weeks ago I received a random email from a guy called Gordon Mosley;

Dear Jason,

I guess I owe you an apology.

I saw you out in Sydney last week. I didn’t stop to say hello as I wondered if you would remember me; I did not want to upset you.

It is Gordon Mosley, we knew each other many years ago.

I wish I could start all over again; I’d like to invite you along to catch up with me next week.

I will be hosting a small cocktail party on xxxxxx at xxxxxx.

It will be followed by a screening of the new film THE GIFT, by my friend Joel Edgerton who will be in attendance.

I hope you can make it along with a guest, and we can let bygones be bygones.

Regards,

Gordo J

Said email freaked me out, who the hell was this Gordon Mosley? I am pretty good with people from my past but for the life of me I did not know that name, I Facebooked the name, nothing, I searched Twitter and Instagram and then I saw the email came from a Gmail account and there was a picture, I clicked on it and it took me through to the Google Page for Gordon Mosley and it was here I started laughing and do nothing but praise the cleverness of marketing for THE GIFT. Gordon Mosley was the lead character from THE GIFT and the picture was of Joel Edgerton in character. Brilliant!! My mum was still concerned, she did not trust it and thought it could be someone luring me out for nefarious reasons. Nope – I was sold! So I RSVP and thanked them for the very clever invite, never leaving character they had no idea what I was talking about and were still happy we could resolve issues at the screening.

THE GIFT is out this coming Thursday 27th in Australia from Roadshow Films, it is rated M and runs for 108mins.

 

the gift movie poster image
THE GIFT | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

Besides the incredibly clever marketing on the invite the movie is also very cleverly marketed. Most distributors market a film completely different to what the film is about, the trailer, the posters, all misleading and when you finally see the movie you get angry at how appalling the selling of the movie has been. THE GIFT does this but it does it for the better, it turned what most people would think was going to be a FATAL ATTRACTION styled thriller mixed with a ONE HOUR PHOTO/ PSYCHO styled evil protagonist slasher film but instead it gives us something much more intelligent and thought provoking.

First time feature director, and Hollywood A-Lister actor, Joel Edgerton, writes and directs this intelligent psychological thriller that isn’t what it seems from the outset. Is the bad guy the bad guy or is he the victim who has had a life destroyed? As luck would have it I got to chat to Joel at the screening for about 10mins, he was a very friendly and what appeared to be, genuine Aussie bloke, he was happy to chat about the film, its meanings and its relatively awesome success, he was also a big Star Wars fan and was stoked Ben Mendelsohn scored a role in upcoming ROGUE ONE and was interested in discussing its plot – what I loved about this, he loves movies, he wasn’t there purely to sell THE GIFT, he was just interested in movies. The film only cost $5MIL to make, some trailers cost more in Hollywood, and it doubled its entire budget on opening weekend bringing in about $12MIL – in Hollywood terms this is pretty small, but it did beat Hollywood Goddess Merryl with RICKI AND THE FLASH. It has gone on to make about $30MIL so far in the US alone and is yet to hit the overseas markets.

 

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THE GIFT | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | SIMON (JASON BATEMAN)

 

The film follows the “perfect appearing” couple with money, Robin (Rebecca Hall) and Simon (Jason Bateman), as they move into Los Angeles coming from Chicago. They are trying for a baby after losing one, Simon is into the corporate world and making money, but mostly winning while stacking the cards in his favour, and Robin is a designer who is working from home while setting up the new place, an incredible house I might add, a place with a lot of glass, would love to live in a place like this.

On one of their first outings to buy stuff from a homewares shop they run into Gordo (Joel Edgerton), a school friend of Simons who makes contact and appears a little socially awkward and somewhat creepy looking. They do the obligatory “let’s catch up” that they probably don’t mean, well that Simon and Robin might not mean. The next day a gift appears on their doorstep from Gordo – how did he get the address (the audience knows)? The next day another gift arrives and so does Gordo. Feeling a bit creeped out but also because Robin is a nice person they invite Gordo for a catch up dinner. You just know things aren’t right with Gordo and Robin and Simon are you; the normal people, the people who are right in the world.

 

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THE GIFT | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | ROBIN (REBECCA HALL), SIMON (JASON BATEMAN) AND GORDO (JOEL EDGERTON)

 

As things start to appear that Gordo is just weird and creepy, Robin starts seeing a change in Simon, Simon has a lot of aggression in regards to Gordo and just wants to be done with him, then she finds a file on him and a few other people showing the background of Gordo and others. Then Simon starts to lie to Robin and the film takes some turns culminating in an incredible ending that had me clapping. Basically Simon is an asshole and has been his entire life and THE GIFT shows the effects of bullying and how that can ripple and effect the entire life of people. The thriller part is that the victim has a nice subtle way of “an eye for an eye.”

The acting in the film is brilliant. Edgerton looks so different and so bloody creepy with his soulless black contact lenses, huge loss of weight and that hair, he plays the part deadpan and aloof and he did remind me a bit of Robin Williams in ONE HOUR PHOTO. Bateman likewise plays a great role and it was awesome seeing him move away from comedy, he really does play an asshole well. And Rebecca Hall, she is just fantastic, so elegant and she comes across as such a caring person.

 

The Gift MOVIE IMAGE
THE GIFT | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | ROBIN (REBECCA HALL)

 

“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” ― Alfred Hitchcock. This is the motto of the film for me. While the film has a long look at bullying and its effects the delivery of the film is in the tension and how just planting the belief of something hideous in someone’s mind can ruin them. Simon did this, Gordo does this, and the film does this to the audience. It is like a wound up wire getting tighter and tighter. I do think the younger audiences may be disappointed in the movie because they might want the SCREAM styled slasher movie and ending in true Hollywood style but alas this film is smarter than that.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one more than I had anticipated and it was superb to meet and chat with Joel, a true gentleman who I wish all the best with this film and all the rest he makes, he is a bloody good director and there is a bright future here if the acting gig falls through hahaha.

 

4 Pops

 

 

Jason King is the owner and editor of Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Film Critics Circle of Australia and has been in the Australian movie industry for 25yrs. He loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. All the social media links to the right and up will allow you to abuse, troll or stalk him :).

 

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