It’s always interesting to see how established actors get on when they step behind the camera to direct, and even more intriguing when they show a real flair for it. Australian actor Joel Edgerton has carved a solid career for himself in mainstream American cinema, and with enough clout to launch his own creative projects he shows an impressively stylish touch as a director here, as well as playing a crucial supporting role onscreen and writing the script himself to boot. He’s a man who clearly knows his Hitchcock, and employs many of the master’s signature devices to craft an effective thriller with a memorably sinister edge to it.

Most actors-turned-directors have an understandable knack for teasing out strong performances from their cast, and this is no exception. Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall do a great job of portraying a seemingly perfect couple’s gradual unraveling, and Edgerton himself keeps his creepy friend from the past just the right side of unsettling. The whole film has a consistently uneasy tone to it, and just when you think it lacks enough conviction to really push things enough, it ends on a truly dark and disturbing note that lingers for far longer than most Hollywood thrillers of this type. Any future work from Edgerton should be kept a close eye on.

THE GIFT
Joel Edgerton, the solid supporting actor7
Joel Edgerton, the dark and subversive writer8
Joel Edgerton, the stylish and highly accomplished director9
Still a pretty straightforward thriller I suppose5
A genuinely upsetting and memorable ending though8
Bechdel Test Passes
  • Features more than one named female character
Bechdel Test Failures
  • I can't remember a scene where they talk to each other
7Overall Score

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