“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones”.
William Shakespeare’s grasp of the human condition was stunning; Joel Edgerton’s brilliantly conceived, directed, performed, “The Gift”, is a psychological masterpiece with Shakespearean overtones. A mid-summer’s thrilling “gift” to moviegoers.
Jason Bateman cements his stardom as “Simon”, a likeable, glib, upwardly mobile, Security Systems salesman; he and his wife “Robyn” (mesmerizing, subtle depiction by Rebecca Hall) have moved back to Los Angeles (from whence he hailed); their relationship, apparently loving but simultaneously unsettled; Robyn, a landscape designer, runs daily, drinks water and tea, cuddles her dog “Bo Jangles”; beneath the equanimity lurks a scrim of sadness, discontent; she’s an observer, an outsider, looking, analyzing, never fully at ease in any situation.
The scenario intensifies with the entrance of “Gordo” (consummate Joel Edgerton) a high school acquaintance of Simon’s; their “ménage a trois” escalates as Gordo creepily invades their environment; surprise visits to Robyn, unexpected gifts, tokens of his sincerity become sinister as he hints of unresolved “bygones”.
Flawless plot development, dynamic, realistic acting; always questioning, never trusting the obvious, “The Gift”, like the sharpest scalpel strips and lays bare man’s inner most core, where good and evil clash on the path to perdition or redemption.