The Gift: “The Sins of The Past Will Become Your Present”

Posted: August 7, 2015 by Blaine Grimes in Uncategorized
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MV5BMTQzMjM2NjM1Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDM1MjQyNTE@._V1__SX1394_SY669_In the midst of the (well-earned) hubbub about Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and the buzz surrounding not-so-Fantastic Four, comes The Gift, a sly little film with an unassuming title that just so happens to be one of the best mystery/suspense pictures released in the past few years. It forsakes the sexiness of Gone Girl and The Guest in favor of something much more terrifying: realism. Moreover, The Gift displays a level of cinematic self-awareness and maturity that, though commendable in and of its own right, is especially remarkable given that it marks the directorial debut of Joel Edgerton (who also wrote the screenplay and stars in the film). At its core, the film is a marital drama obsessed with sins of the past.

Simon (Jason Bateman ) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) seem like your average couple. They buy a new house, move in, and plan to start a family. One day, while making a run to a homeware store, Simon meets Gordo (Edgerton), a long-lost high school acquaintance. But the problem is that Gordo seems a little obsessed with Simon and Robyn; creepiness ensues, and the veil is lifted on the couple’s ostensibly happy marriage.

The truly delightful thing about The Gift is that it takes a highly subversive turn just as it heads for rote stalker film territory. Edgerton’s camerawork reinforces the narrative turn: he is not afraid to use jump-scares (there are some good ones) and then, a scene later, make you squirm in your seat as his camera lingers too long. In short, adrenaline junkies will have their fill.

Perhaps as much as anything else, however, The Gift is an insightful meditation on the long-term consequences of sin and wrongdoing. “The sins of the past will become your present,” the trailer says. Alas, however, is not possible to discuss this thematic consideration in much detail without spoiling, so suffice it to say that the words of the Psalmist—which I leave here as enticement—figure prominently in the film:

Behold, the wicked man conceives evil
and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. He makes a pit, digging it out,and falls into the hole that he has made. His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends. (Psalm 7:14–16)

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