SPOILERS AHEAD! Don't read this unless you want the twist revealed.
"The Gift," a mystery-thriller released August 7, stars Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, and Joel Edgerton, who also steps in as first-time director. No blood and guts in this flick, one of the many positives about the movie, which kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I watched it.
Jason Bateman plays a successful family man who moves to California with his wife, played by Rebecca Hall, after landing a new job there. Everything seems fine, life is great -- and getting better! -- until an old high-school acquaintance shows up. Unbeknownst to us, Bateman was a bully in high school and spread a nasty rumor he made up that caused Edgerton to suffer mental and physical abuse at the hands of his own father; 25 years later Edgerton comes for payback.
What I really liked about this psychological thriller is the karma aspect of it. Bateman, as an adult, was a successful salesman with a beautiful wife who made moves up the corporate ladder, but, 25 years ago in high school, he was a bully who put his victim through hell. Instead of peace in their new home, Edgerton is popping up un-announced several times, causing Bateman's wife extreme anxiety and sleepless nights. Things really start to unravel for the couple as Bateman's wife learns of his past horrible deeds and starts to question who she married. Bateman's new friends find out how low he'll go to get what he wants. He loses his job and has to question the paternity of his new child. Karma at its best!
"The Gift" is a great psychological thriller and mystery movie that, in my opinion, should be watched by high school and adult bullies alike. It really shows how a person's actions, and how we treat others -- even as kids -- can have lasting and sometimes devastating effects on others; even to the point where they carry that hurt around and seek revenge years later.
Bullying is a real problem in middle school and high school, and "The Gift" puts a nasty little spin on how karma loves to visit when you least expect it. Nice job, Edgerton. Me likey.
Wendell Escott is a student at El Camino Community College and a contributor to Moviefone's Campus Beat. Are you a current college student with a love for all things movies and TV? Contribute to Campus Beat!