In his debut as director as well as writer, producer and actor, Joel Edgerton’s The Gift is a psychological thriller that brings secrets of the past screaming into the present day to shake up a seemingly perfect couple’s life, leaving nothing as it previously appeared.
Set in the glamorous hills of LA, husband and wife Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) settle into their new home as Simon starts a new job heading up a security firm. After a few days in the neighbourhood they have an awkward reunion with Simon’s old high school friend Gordo (Joel Edgerton) and the relationship is re-ignited.
While Simon schmoozes his way up the ranks of LA society and business, Robyn spends her days rattling around their new home trying to rebuild her life after some difficult personal issues that are implied, but never quite addressed. Then the gifts begin arriving. Seemingly harmless presents from Gordo left on their doorstep that escalate into regular appearances at the house. Robyn feels sorry for him and, probably glad of the company, starts inviting him into their home.
Things soon take a turn with Gordo’s behaviour becoming creepily stalkerish and Simon getting increasingly aggressive towards him and his visits. Before long it becomes clear that the pair have a lot more history than first thought and Simon an undesirable dark side that he wants to keep hidden from his wife, but that is slowly bubbling up to the surface.
There’s nothing particularly new about this plot, but the twist at the end is clever, leaving you questioning who really is the bad guy in this scenario and what the gift comes to mean – truth, revenge or something more life-changing?
The Gifts is showing in cinemas from 27 August.