The Gift (2000)

Director Sam Raimi
Written by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson

Cate Blanchett, Gary Cole, Katie Holmes, Greg Kinnear, Giovani Ribisi, Keanu Reeves, Hilary Swank, Michael Jeter, Kim Dickens, Rosemary Harris, JK Simmons, Chelcie Ross.

In Deep South Georgia, widowed fortune teller, and clairvoyant Annie (Blanchett) has a multitude of clients; like the troubled Buddy (Ribisi), and domestic violence victim, Valerie (Swank). When the stunning fiancée (Holmes) of school Principal (Kinnear) goes missing, law enforcement reluctantly ask for her assistance.

This film tries too hard to be a really amazing and unique murder mystery thriller, but unfortunately it falls flat. It is parts whodunit and interspliced with a rushed and anticlimactic courtroom trial – and with elements of supernatural with Annie’s ‘gift’.

The characters seem almost clichéd characteristics of the setting. The forced emotion with the widowed Annie’s struggling with being a single mother was yet another cliché storyline, and the police being sceptics in having Annie help the case.

Some of the cast members who normally do wonderful work are ‘just fine’ here, like Swank and Kinnear. Ribisi was in his typecast era in the role of the ‘somewhat slow’ character – but he has some incredible scenes within. He does do the role very well, but it seems a little non progressive, especially watching in 2022. Many of the cast who are putting on ‘Southern’ accents are jarring, and noticeably off, even from an Australian viewer who doesn’t live anywhere near this part of the world.

The MVP in my opinion is Reeves, who in an out of left field absolutely nails the role of the neo-Nazi wife beater. There are several scenes where he plays the menacing role so believably. This was midway through his Matrix era, and the two characters are chalk and cheese from one another.

The final 20 minutes, where the killer is revealed, and stopped didn’t really work in my opinion. I really enjoyed this upon its release, but in review, it doesn’t hold up. Saved from a 2.5 rating from the impressive performance by Reeves.



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