A Few Good Screams: The Gift

Joel Edgerton takes on the challenge of writing, directing, and starring in a thriller about revenge on a childhood bully. Along side Jason Bateman & Rebecca Hall this psychological thriller has its share of twists.


 

 

Joel Edgerton tries to remind us that bullies never win in this “how far will a victim go for revenge” story. Edgerton has impressed us with past roles including Warrior (2011), The Great Gatsby (2013), and appearances in Star Wars Episode II & III. Coming off of his leading role in Exodus: Gods and Kings, Edgerton is a big deal with big expectations in his projects. Landing the very talented and equally hot Rebecca Hall, Transcendence (2014) and The Town (2010), was a win. Rounding out the starring roles is Jason Bateman.

Rebecca Hall - Harper's Bazaar UK magazine February 2011 issue3

Rebecca Hall – Harper’s Bazaar UK magazine February 2011

This Flick starts off with you typical ominous music and the brand new empty house as Robyn (Hall) & Simon (Bateman) move in from Chicago. Without much back story but some vague references to something that went wrong to cause the move, we are quickly introduced to good ole Gordon Mosley aka Gordo (Edgerton). He seems like a friendly pal, but Simon quickly dismisses him. Note if you’ve ever angered a person, giving away your address in front of them is not a good idea. Which brings us to the….First gift. We keep getting flashes of what may have driven our couple to move, a lost child? The pace of the movie at this point doesn’t build for the tension it could.

Robyn randomly letting in a stranger to the new house is over the top, not even mentioning Gordo has a seriously creepy vibe. On a bright note, the dog’s name is Bo Jangles. Eventually, Robyn, of course, invites our male version of single white female over for dinner. The metaphor machine starts and Gordo might as well start detailing his master plan. I can’t help but think Edgerton is a poor man’s Kevin Spacey and we’ll all be yelling “what’s in the box” shortly.

the-gift_new

Transitioning to the awkward Jason Bateman classic role as the overly concerned hubby type who would probably annoy the crap out of any self-respecting woman. Hey, look free fish! Gordo can do my Christmas shopping.

After a stranger shows up four days in a row don’t you start thinking restraining order? Now the dinner invite is reversed and we might be getting some action….Nope…another awkward exchange and Simon finally balls up and ends the fake niceness.

This is where I went from this is an average movie to officially caring less, the dog is gone and when consulting the police they care that Gordo will know? Then Robyn steals some pills from the neighbor? She obviously doesn’t have Obama care. It’s also a cop-out to how the baby issues came around. I would have liked to see Simon be at fault, make the bully angle much more believable.

Robyn has an episode and mixing in some lack of trust from Simon’s seedy past. This movie continues to miss the points of suspense building for oddly placed vailed dot connecting. Oddly we are speeding ahead, a pregnancy, Gordo seems to have given up.

Now the back story, its forced and frankly mean spirited. Simon is now suddenly a homophobic prick who caused Gordo’s dad to go nuts on the boy. Bateman seals our dislike with an A+ douchebag speech and beatdown of Gordo for no real reason.

Let’s get this over with, as the baby comes, Simon is caught in his actions and loses his job. How did they ever find out his bad behavior?

the-gift_jason_bateman

Simon finally finds some ominously numbered DVDs. Rape as a plot twist? Now I’ve gone from disappointed to hate. Even if Gordo is just messing with Simon, and frankly a DNA test isn’t that hard to get, call Maury. Going to rape as you revenge is a lazy and repulsive way to end your thriller.

Edgerton might have gotten a pass if not for that ending. He does pull off creeper so there’s that. Batman is miss-cast and hard to take seriously as a bully. Hall doesn’t get enough screen time or opportunities to show off her talents.

This movie is a failure to piece together a classic suspense idea.

 

~E.S. Norton~

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Categories: A Few Good Screams

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