A stun­ning thriller

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Direc­tor: Joel Edger­ton Fea­tur­ing: Ja­son Bate­man, Re­becca Hall and Joel Edger­ton It’s hard to write a re­view about The Gift with­out giv­ing away de­li­ciously tense pieces of the plot. Suf­fice it to say that de­but di­rec­tor Joel Edger­ton has de­liv­ered a psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller so tightly wrought and charged with fore­bod­ing that I found it hard to sit still while watch­ing it.

Briefly, the story line fol­lows cou­ple Si­mon (Ja­son Bate­man) and Robyn (Re­becca Hall), who have just moved into a new house. After they run into Gordo (Edger­ton), one of Si­mon’s old school ac­quain­tances, Gordo’s overzeal­ous en­thu­si­asm to start a friend­ship turns men­ac­ing when the cou­ple don’t re­turn his ad­vances.

Some­thing hap­pened be­tween Si­mon and Gordo in high school, and it wasn’t good. This film is as much an un­set­tling look at the long-term ef­fects of bul­ly­ing (which re­ally should be called some­thing more ac­cu­rate, such as school ha­rass­ment) and to­day’s win-at-all­costs cul­ture that makes it okay to beat down the weak to get ahead.

Bate­man is su­perb in his role as, well, an ar­se­hole, and Edger­ton’s sub­tle por­trayal of a qui­etly off kil­ter out­sider about to snap is mas­ter­ful. You are al­ways un­sure of who to root for, and the fi­nal twist is like a blow to the head. – Grethe Koen

ONE-SIDED FRIEND­SHIPS Joel Edger­ton is suit­ably off kil­ter in this stun­ning psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller

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