The Gift (2000)
Critic Consensus: With a reported budget of around 10 million, The Gift is obviously a labor of love for those involved. Unfortunately, the A-list cast can't prevent the movie from becoming a by-the-numbers whodunit with an ending that's all but unsatisfactory.
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as Annie Wilson
as Donnie Barksdale
as Jessica King
as Buddy Cole
as Wayne Collins
as Valerie Barksdale
as Gerald Weems
as Annie's Grandmother
as Sheriff Pearl Johnson
as Kenneth King
as Albert Hawkins
as Mike Wilson
as Miller Wilson
as Ben Wilson
Critic Reviews for The Gift
There's really just one reason to see the Southern freak show that is Sam Raimi's The Gift, and fortunately it's the best reason: to watch the star of the piece.
A glorious textbook example of a gifted film maker's ability to transform a familiar genre and, thrillingly, to confound our expectations in the process.
Raimi's latest picture, The Gift, looks like an attempt to create a classier version of the kind of horror movie that established his reputation nearly two decades ago.
The movie has an impressive cast. Blanchett is a terrific actress who deserves better than this.
Unfortunately, Raimi and Thornton -- who collaborated as director and star on the genuinely creepy A Simple Plan -- have only enough material this time to sustain half a movie.
Audience Reviews for The Gift
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.
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.
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.
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