• The Gift
    2 minutes 15 seconds
    Added: May 9, 2008

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The Gift Reviews

Page 1 of 82
Lady D

Super Reviewer

March 28, 2007
A Supernatural Thriller with a convincing, natural performance by Cate Blanchett and a unique angle on a Murder investigation.

There is something of an emotional commitment brought to the storyline by the characters in this film, which really comes across well on screen. All in all it is a decent (greatly underrated) film, one that I have watched time and time again.
Sophie B

Super Reviewer

February 11, 2007
My second viewing of The Gift led me to realise how formulaic and structured the screenplay actually is. Yes it has some 'twists' and a guessing game as to who the killer is but there's no thrill in the chase. Jessica King is shown as a horrible woman who got what she deserved so there was no sympathy for her death which led me to not care about who killed her. An interesting watch but kind of a waste of time.
Mark W

Super Reviewer

June 13, 2010
Anytime Sam Raimi is mentioned in connection with the occult, the "Evil Dead" springs to mind. This however, is not quite the hilarious gore fest he'd produced earlier but a more character driven mystery.
Annie Wilson (Cate Blanchett) is recently widowed and now a struggling single mother. She has psychic abilities and it's in this that she tries to make ends meet by helping a few of the locals with her fortune telling abilities. Despite the skepticism of some of her neighbours and the local law enforcement she is asked to help in the investigation of a recent murder when all other leads come to nothing. But by becoming involved in the investigation, she puts herself and her children in danger with some people preferring that their secrets are left alone.
More similiar in structure to Raimi's
"A Simple Plan" with Billy Bob Thornton (who co-writes this) rather than his horrors or blockbusters like "Spiderman". It's a well crafted supernatural thriller that keeps the tension high and the mystery elusive long enough to hold your interest. It also helps to have an impressive cast, which this certainly has. Surprisingly though, it's not the Oscar winning/nominated actors like Blanchett, Hilary Swank or Greg Kinnear or even the excellent supporting actors like Gary Cole, J.K. Simmons or Giovanni Ribisi that shine in this film but it's Keanu Reeves who steals the show in this impressive ensemble. He is entirely convincing as a menacing and abusive wife-beating redneck husband. Complete with skip-hat and beard. It's probably his best performance to date and he should definately play more "bad" characters in future.
A tightly constructed little who-done-it? and worth checking out, even if it's just for Reeves' excellent acting.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

January 10, 2010
Really odd and nothing like Sam Raimi's usual style, but it's not terrible by any means. Actually, you can almost take the psychic aspect seriously. The performances were all pretty decent, especially Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi. While it's not a perticularly well crafted script, it is an interesting mystery.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 24, 2009
Not Raimi's best but the good cast do make up for it.
Aaron N

Super Reviewer

June 10, 2006
Sheriff Pearl Johnson: Miss Wilson, I don't believe in what you do. I'll just be straight with you. Not only that, I don't like it. But, we've got to the end of the road of our investigation... and looked under every rock there is to look under... and we'd like you to tell us what you can to help us.

A quality mystery thriller, with a bit of a supernatural element thrown in, from director Sam Raimi. Supported by a good story, Raimi makes this film effective through the use of setting up many good suspense and dramatic scenes, along with stocking this film with a great cast of character actors.

Set in the South, Cate Blanchett stars as Annie, a widowed, single mother, looking after her three boys, following her husband's death a year prior. Annie makes money through social security and a gift that she has. Her gift lets her see elements of the future and town residents come to visit her to hear there possible future or fortune.

Among her clients include Giovanni Ribisi as an unstable mechanic and Hilary Swank as a women constantly beaten by her hillbilly husband, played by Keanu Reeves. Reeves' character has many problems with Annie's profession and begins to make threats to her and her family.

Donnie: She's a God damn witch! She's putting spells on every-damn-body in town!

These elements link to the main plot, which involves the disappearance of Katie Holmes character. She plays the daughter of the rich family in town, who was engaged to the school principal, played by a very likable Greg Kinnear. Annie is asked by the town sheriff, played by J.K. Simmons, to use her gift to try and find the missing girl. This leads to Reeves' character's possible guilt, but someone else may be at fault.

Buddy: You have to tell me, and you have to tell me now.
Annie: I'll tell you, hun.
Buddy: If I look into a blue diamond, and I think a negative thought, am I gonna die?
Annie: No, you're not gonna die. You're not gonna die, Buddy.

There are a few problems I have with this story, one mainly deals with a courtroom drama sequence that involves rival lawyers played by Gary Cole and Michael Jeter, however the quality of the performances throughout this film make everything worthwhile.

Blanchett is very good in the lead. Kinnear, like I mentioned, makes his character quite likable. Swank's character is irritating, but necessary. Holmes isn't in the film too long, but she's perfectly acceptable. Supporting work from Simmons, Cole, and Jeter is always welcome. One of the most surprisingly good performances comes from Keanu Reeves. He plays a role against type, yet seems perfectly suited towards. He is effective, menacing, yet somewhat layered. The best performance however, comes from Giovanni Ribisi. His character just works in this movie. Its not over the top, its just right for the character he has. Ribisi has always been an actor I like seeing in various supporting roles, and he does so very well once again.

Raimi's work here as a director is strong as well. He creates an atmospheric mystery that maintains a solid tone without dipping into camp. There are a few instances where a higher budget may have certainly benefited (it may work for Evil Dead, but not here), though these instances are forgivable.

While towards the end, one possible reveal may seem obvious, a final twist did make me enjoy the film as a whole even more. Quality picture.

Wayne Collins: Is there anything you can tell us?
Annie: I can read for you. But that's about all I can do.
Leigh R

Super Reviewer

October 17, 2006
I like it.
thmtsang
thmtsang

Super Reviewer

July 14, 2007
Excellent thriller with a great cast. There's a young woman found dead but who murdered her? The movie reveals she had a double life. Cate is brilliant as the medium who sees and helps people but comes under scrutiny.
Red L

Super Reviewer

February 28, 2008
A who-dunnit spiced up by a psychic Cate Blanchett who solves a murder. An A cast; perhaps a bit too long movie.
puffchunk
puffchunk

Super Reviewer

October 4, 2007
The cast in this movie did amazing acting jobs. I once thought Keanu Reeves could only play a Bill type of character well, but he pulls off a drunken wife beater just fine. Cate Blanchett is wonderful, as well as Giovani Ribisi. Normally a thriller is only good one time, but this probably has some replay value due to its performances.
Jason S

Super Reviewer

October 4, 2007
An ok movie about a psychic. It has a really good cast ans they all seem to give it a fair go. The story is ok as it really tries to be a mystery.
Dr Blood  

Super Reviewer

June 23, 2007
Some of the dialogue is laughable and the court room scene is, quite frankly, ludicrous and overlong.
garyX
garyX

Super Reviewer

June 20, 2007
Sam Raimi tries his hand at M. Night Shyamalam territory in a supernatural thriller that sees a psychic haunted by images of the murdered girl whose police investigation she is aiding. Basically, it's The Dead Zone meets The Sixth Sense, but unfortunately it's as good as neither. The ensemble cast of quality character actors are uniformly good, especially Blanchett and Ribisi, and there is some stylishly effective J-horror inspired imagery from Raimi. But it's a bit TOO M. Night, as it suffers from the same drawbacks ie. the whodunnit element is FAR too obvious. Anyone with two braincells to rub together can guess who the killer is within about half an hour (I spent most of the film PRAYING it wouldn't be that obvious, but it was) and the Twilight Zone twist at the end is frankly irrelevant. But it is a well made chiller that's worth an hour and a half of anyone's time. Just don't expect to be amazed.
Dean !

Super Reviewer

June 3, 2007
A cool psychological thriller with some neat twists. Great perfomances by all the leads, if you like thrillers like Sleeping with the enemy and What lies beneath you'll enjoy this.
Drew S

Super Reviewer

May 14, 2007
Let's compare The Gift and another movie I saw today: Derailed. Both are star-vehicle movies that fall victim to constant tropes of their respective genres, and end up predictable by the end as a result. What makes The Gift a vastly superior movie to Derailed?

The characters. And in addition, the actors' portrayals of those characters. In Derailed, the main character is wallpaper, with very few defining traits and little motivation behind the actions he takes. Cate Blanchett, playing good-hearted and stable psychic Annie Wilson, is a person full of texture. She is gifted, but uses it solely to help others. She has her pride, even in the face of sweltering hate. She wants to see the right thing done and to be a good example for her children, in lieu of their dead father. Cate Blanchett plays this compelling character to perfection, and that alone propels The Gift way above Derailed.

Every other character benefits from the guiding hand of a strong performance, as well. Hilary Swank's role is small here, but she can act circles around Jennifer Aniston. And Vincent Cassel always makes a good bad guy, but Giovanni Ribisi takes neuroses and turns them into terrifying, spasmodic, frighteningly convincing behavior spells. Hell, Sam Raimi got a good performance out of, against all odds, Keanu Reeves. Katie Holmes's role is not much of a stretch for her, and her toplessness is gratuitous, but she's not that bad either.

Despite a plot that starts out great but has lost all its steam by the last half hour, and an unimpressive twist ending, The Gift is really helped out by its performances. This would be floating around in B-movie hell if not for its acting. It's still not cinema verite, but it's a fun little bauble for each of the participating actors to add to their resumes.
deano
deano

Super Reviewer

December 17, 2006
Amazing psychological thriller and Cate Blanchett makes a riveting performance by using her clairvoyant talents. Also good mesmerising performances from a talented emsemble cast.
Michael G

Super Reviewer

October 24, 2006
An overlooked Sam Raimi classic.
Sarah G

Super Reviewer

September 27, 2006
Cate Blanchett is brilliant in this,
Emily A

Super Reviewer

June 20, 2006
This was a really small movie and Cate Blanchette really drives it. That whole mystery-in-a-small-Southern-town has that whole exotic boyou voodoo edge to it and that atmosphere permeates every aspect of the film. Extra props go to Giovanni Ribisi, JK Simons and Keanu Reeves.
boxman
boxman

Super Reviewer

February 24, 2006
[font=Arial][color=darkred]Miss Congeniality - I'm finding the equation "Sandra Bullock = wait for video" truer every day. The flick takes on the already beaten to death and then some subject matter of beauty pageants. There are a couple of funny moments, mainly due to Michael Caine and his quest to be in EVERY movie ever, but the rest is horrible slapstick. This film has the WORST forced romance I've ever seen between Benjamin Bratt and Bullock, it's not just bad it's insultingly bad. The film also has this very unsettling misoginistic tone through out the duration, even more odd when you figure in Bullock as a producer.[/color][/font]



[font=Arial][color=darkred]Nate's Grade: D+[/color][/font]



[font=Arial][color=darkred]The Family Man - If I poked this movie it would spray sap in my eye and blind me. It's essentially a Hollywood remake of Frank Capra's 'It's A Wonderful Life' with a bit more cynicsm and a bit less success. Cage is a heartless Wall Street whiz who catches a "glimspe" of an alternative life where he's married to Tea Leoni and has kids in the suburbs. 'The Family Man' wants to kill you with its message of "business is EVIL" and "suburbs and mini-vans and bowling leagues and family... good!" It's almost caveman like in its bludgeoning. Sap flows freely in this supposed feel-good flick, but stalls in a lackluster ending.[/color][/font]



[font=Arial][color=darkred]Nate's Grade: C[/color][/font]



[font=Arial][color=darkred]The Gift - Sam Raimi is a slick director and is maturing smoothly. 'The Gift' is a nicely ensembled pot-boiler in the South. Cate Blanchet gives a remarkable performance that was, as most were that were nominated, better than Julia. Keanu Reeves finds a role he can actually excell with in that of a wife beating redneck - he's actually quite scary in it. Gio Ribisi gives the best performance of his career as a mentally retarded mechanic. The film coasts on some good atmosphere and direction by Raimi, but it is too easy to figure out the final turns in the end. And yes, Katie Holmes does get naked briefly in the movie.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Nate's Grade: B[/color][/font]
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