Psychological drama/thriller The Gift is the very assured directorial debut from Joel Edgerton (who also wrote the script). A well to do couple, Simon and Robyn, move from the big city to the suburbs to make a fresh start after Robyn (Rebecca Hall) experienced some personal trauma in Chicago. By chance whilst shopping, Simon (Jason Bateman) bumps into a high school classmate Gordo (Edgerton). Initially, what seems like an innocent encounter takes a darker turn when gifts start to turn up on the couple's doorstep and "Gordo the weirdo" keeps coming to the house unannounced......
The Gift is definitely a film that's more effective the less you know about it (granted, that goes for most films these days). If you watch the trailer, it suggests another run of the mill stalker/intruder in the house thriller with all the usual clichés to tick off the checklist. However, there's a lot more going on than that but that's something for you to find out.
Essentially, it's a three hander between the leads, and the character dynamics evolve over the course of the movie. Edgerton and Hall are on reliably good form, but it's Jason Bateman who stands out and is a revelation as Simon. It confirms my long held suspicion that he has been wasting his talent in throwaway comedies such as the Horrible Bosses movies (enjoyable fluff as they are). Here, Bateman shows the other side to his acting and he steals the movie with a nuanced performance that's a notch above his slightly dodgy husband in Juno.
As much a drama as it is a thriller - although not without some suspense-fully tense moments. Edgerton directs with the confidence of a veteran filmmaker even he does occasionally resort to what John Carpenter would call a "cheap trick" to get a jump or nervous laughter from the audience.