Actor Joel Edgerton slips effortlessly behind the camera with this darkly unnerving psychological thriller in which the perfect life of a seemingly perfect couple is smashed to smithereens. ‘The Gift’ is Edgerton’s first directing gig and he also writes, produces and stars. Multi-tasking becomes him; this is an impressive debut, heart-racingly channelling the likes of ‘The Hand That Rocks the Cradle’.
Successful young couple Robyn (Rebecca Hall) and Simon (Jason Bateman) move into a peeping-Tom-friendly house made almost entirely of glass (their first mistake). They bump into Gordo (Edgerton), an oddball who says he went to high school with Simon, but starts turning up with creepy presents while Robyn is home alone. She begins to suspect that his sudden appearance may be her husband’s past coming back to haunt them.
‘The Gift’ spends most of its time keeping us guessing, but jumps wholeheartedly into a horrible, spine-tinglingly exhilarating climax. Edgerton lays on the tension – those windows really grate on your nerves – expertly delivering the old-school jumpy moments. Hall’s troubled, pill-taking Robyn is beautifully understated, a performance that gives the film an entirely plausible focus and balances Edgerton’s occasionally too weirdo-weird Gordo perfectly. ‘The Gift’ will have you triple-locking the doors and rushing to pull the curtains.