I've decided that my favorite genre of movie is the psychological thriller. I didn't realize that until I walked out of "The Gift" mulling over the twists and turns of the plot.
This summer I've tried to widen my horizons by going to more action and comic book films. I threw in "Magic Mike XXL" just to stay up with the trends. I smiled a few times while watching "Ant Man" because I really like Paul Rudd. "San Andreas" was thrilling with its earthquake and tsunami special effects. But none of these movies really did it for me the way "The Gift" did.
There's nothing as fascinating to me as the hidden nooks and crannies of the human mind. What goes on in the folds of our brains seeps out into our relationships, both with others and with ourselves. I'm weary of bomb blasts and car chases and super powers. I admire the film technology it takes to produce these effects, but I don't find them very interesting in terms of story telling.
"The Gift" is reminiscent of the style of Alfred Hitchcock. "Suspicion," the 1941 film starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine, comes to mind. The mystery that sustains the plot in "Suspicion" is that we are kept in the dark about the motivations of the Cary Grant character. "The Gift" successfully sustains the same type of mystery with three different characters. The golden couple, played by Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall, is living a seemingly charmed life in a stylish L.A. home with a stylish L.A. job for the husband. When the Joel Edgerton character enters the scene, everything we assume about the couple is tilted slightly to the left.
I don't want to elaborate on the plot points. It's enough to say that the audience is presented with a troubling labyrinth created by these three characters. What I am most excited about is the discovery of the talented Australian, Joel Edgerton, as a gifted psychological thriller creator. He wrote, directed, and produced this fascinating tale. As if that weren't enough, he played the quirky Gordo. He was the perfect foil to the charming Jason Bateman's edginess and Rebecca Hall's vulnerability.
Please keep up the good work, Joel Edgerton!