Blu-ray Review: The Gift

The Gift Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Universal | DIRECTOR: Joel Edgerton | CAST: Joel Edgerton, Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall
RELEASE DATE: 10/27/15 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $34.98
BONUSES: Alternate ending, deleted scenes, commentary, teasers
SPECS: R | 109 min. | Thriller | widescreen 2.40:1 | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

Movie The GiftAcclaimed actor Joel Edgerton’s (The Great Gatsby) first foray into writer/director/actor on a feature film, The Gift is a quiet but taut thriller that keeps viewers guessing and, at the end, keeps them talking.

The story follows couple Simon (Jason Bateman, Bad Words) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall, Iron Man 3) when they’ve just moved to Los Angeles. Their life is seemingly on the track to good things. They’ve left behind some bad memories in Chicago and are starting anew with a nice house and Simon rising quickly in a new job. Then they meet Gordo (Edgerton), who went to high school with Simon and wants to reunite, and things start heading toward the strange.

The movie’s title comes from the expensive and thoughtful gifts that start showing up at the couple’s house, which Edgerton partners with more creepy actions (long stares, inappropriate attention) to keep viewers guessing about Gordo’s motives. It’s obvious that Gordo’s creep factor is high, but Edgerton plays the role tightly to stop viewers from ever truly deciding whether the character is just well-intentioned and misunderstood.

As Gordo’s actions affect Robyn and Simon, the movie proves itself to be as much a cat and mouse thriller as a dramatic look at the stresses of marriage.

Edgerton says as much in his full-length commentary with friend and editor Luke Doolan (Miracle Fish). Obviously enthusiastic about his film (as he should be), Edgerton does the vast majority of the talking in the commentary. But his thoughts are often interesting as he delves into his intentions for the characters and story as well as some behind-the-scenes mishaps.

The Blu-ray also includes a handful of deleted scenes and an alternate ending, which are interesting and brief but don’t add anything that the film itself already gives. They all come with the option of an introduction by Edgerton.

Rounding out the extras are a pair of featurettes, but really they’re snippets of interviews with Edgerton made into promotional teasers. A full featurette including interviews with Hall and Bateman would’ve been nice.

The film plays with stark light and ominous dark to intensify the mood, and they work nicely in the high-definition video. Same goes for the DTS-HD 5.1 sound.

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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.