You get the feeling that you’re in for a treat right from the first few frames of The Gift. Aided by Eduard Grau’s stunning cinematography (Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans’ chilling music score is superb too), Edgerton – who has also scripted the film – ratchets up the intensity with Hitchcockian skill.
Simon and Robyn move into their plush new home and are quick to settle into the neighborhood. Gordo makes his way into their lives with regular visits, and of course, a succession of gift-wrapped goodies. And yet, it’s pretty obvious by his demeanor that something is not quite right. It’s enough to make Simon deeply suspicious of Gordo’s motives. Does he want to seduce Robyn? Or is he some kind of psychopath? Simon makes no attempt to hide his hostility towards Gordo. Robyn though, is less cynical about Gordo and his generosity. She, in fact, begins to get curious about why Simon is so agitated about Gordo.
Bateman, Hall and Edgerton are in a word, fantastic. Cliches are studiously avoided in this bone-chilling little gem of a thriller. Instead, the goosebumps are provided by the twists, red herrings and a sense of unsettling uncertainty that is constant throughout. “The past is not done with you,” Gordo cautions Simon in one scene. That neatly encapsulates the essence of the movie, as it simmers to a boiling climax. The Gift is uniformly intense without being heavy. Not for one second does it drag. If you enjoy psych-thrillers, there will be plenty to think about long after the end credits have rolled. Do not miss this one.