The Gift

Rated 3.0

Joel Edgerton writes, directs and stars in this capable thriller about the perils of bullying and moving back to your home state. Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall play Simon and Robin, a married couple returning to California where Simon has a new job. While shopping for throw pillows, they run into Gordo (Edgerton), a high school pal that Simon doesn't seem to remember at first. Gordo goes out of his way to welcome the new couple, dropping by the house uninvited, stocking their pond with fish and basically creeping out Simon. As the film progresses, more is revealed about Simon, his past with Gordo, and his current dishonesty. Bateman, who usually opts for more comedic roles, is very good as a man who thinks he has control of his domain, and thinks he can get away with habitual fibbing. Hall is terrific as the wife who can't help but feel a little sorry for Gordo, and would perhaps be better off being a jerk like her husband. Edgerton is creepy and, somehow, sympathetic as the strange man of the past who wants Simon to remember him in the worst of ways. Edgerton shows that he can write a screenplay with some good twists, direct it so there are plenty of surprises, and act it so that it's good and scary. A true triple threat.