The past has a way of catching up with the present -- and sometimes it can be devastating. This is the basis for The Gift, a psychological drama revolving around three people.
The Gift is a more subtle and effective thriller-drama. The tension and mystery comes not from violence and dead bodies, but rather from how the characters interact and reveal themselves. Jason Bateman is terrific, gradually transforming the ambitious, determined husband to a domineering bully (in high school he was known as "Simon Says" because everyone did what he wanted) who tends to steamroll his wife as much as Gordo. Joel Edgerton does well making Gordo somewhere between likable, creepy, and very possibly dangerous. And Robyn Hall fills out the cast nicely, as her Rebecca begins as damaged and grows stronger as her sympathy for Gordo parallels her growing suspicions about her husband.
The ending of The Gift may be slightly anticlimactic, but the movie manages a slow, effective build of tension and a mystery that is more realistic than many thrillers. It's definitely worth seeing.
Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch