"Good People Should Have Nice Things."
I kinda wish I had lowered my expectations.
The film is interested in the concept of “security”, what people have to do in order to feel secure, and how insecurity can alter someone’s persona beyond recognition. This theme is addressed visually in several different ways throughout the film. The house that Rebecca and Simon live in, for example, manages to be tucked away from other houses in the neighborhood, as well as the nearby city, while still leaving its inhabitants vulnerable; the house’s large windows and central layout make everything going on inside clear to anyone who happens by. It’s a genius level attention to setting that makes every scene in that house unbearably tense, even when nothing is happening. In this way, “The Gift” is less of a horror film and more of an examination on horror: the tension in the plot is almost entirely self-generated by the characters imaginations and hastily drawn conclusions. And as the story continues, each of the three main characters is shown to share some level of culpability and potential for violence that is exciting and strange. It’s a story told without a clear-cut indication of who to trust, and when you don’t trust ANY of the main characters, all that becomes important is how the tale unfolds. It’s eerie, and fresh, and proof that simple storytelling is really the best kind of storytelling.
I really liked “The Gift”.
Until the last twenty minutes.
I HATED the last twenty minutes.
I cannot stress to you the level of betrayal I feel after sitting through this film’s climax. In one fell swoop it takes three complex, active characters with a complicated relationship and puts them all in their place. The husband is a tragic figure, who regrets his actions now that he has received punishment. The wife is a tool, an object used to further cause the husband pain. And Gordo…enigmatic, vulnerable, off-putting Gordo…he’s a crazy fucker who took it one step too far.
All that work. All that skillful character building, all that built-up tension…all for a horrible bait-and-switch of an ending that is meant to do nothing more than shock its audience.
I was all ready to give “The Gift” a glowing review. And I can’t. And I don’t understand how someone with such a clear understanding of film could make an ending that horribly misguided.
Moreover…I’m disappointed that most critics seem to be letting him off the hook.
Red wine. Slightly sweet.
-Drink whenever Gordo shows up somewhere uninvited
-Drink whenever something breaks
-Drink when someone is commanded to do something
-Drink when a letter or other documentation is read
-Drink when a scene takes place at a party
This review was written by Hollis Beck (Krissy Pappau). "The Gift" is produced by Blue Tongue Films and Blumhouse Productions, and distributed by Showtime Networks. The film is rated "R" with a run time of 108 minutes.
Special thanks to my Patrons, Caroline Kittredge Faustine, Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin, and Antonia Beck. Your support helped make this article happen!