Written and directed by Joel Edgerton, The Gift is a tight, stark and claustrophobic little thriller that spools as murky as the script’s reference to “let bygones be bygones.”
The pair at the receiving end of those words – initially we don’t know exactly what the “bygones” are which need to be absolved – are Simon (Jason Bateman) and his wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall). Newly arrived in Los Angeles, thanks to Simon’s cushy new job, they’re eager to start a family. One day, at the mall, Simon is approached by Gordon (Edgerton), who claims to have known Simon in high school. Robyn graciously takes Gordon’s phone number so Simon can later connect with him. Gordon, however, is one step ahead. He has already overheard them give their address to the salesperson.
Suddenly it’s open season– via Gordon’s stalker-like delivery of housewarming presents, helpful lists and unannounced visits that suggest sinister motives, given his belief that a “gift” can emanate from a bad thing – on the couple’s pretty, see-through, class-enclosed house.
Transparency – or the lack of it – figures big in The Gift. Robyn is sympathetic to the seemingly misunderstood Gordon, despite Simon’s belittling him as “Gordo the Weirdo.” She nevertheless begins to play detective to get to the bottom of those “bygones” and to find out what seems so “off,” in increasingly disturbing ways, about how these two men relate to each other.
The archetypal takeaway here is that Mercury can speak with hellish, Pluto-inspired cruelty, generating words that kill, devour and scar. Permanently, if Gordon is any indicator.
To forgive all wrongs, so that one may live in the present instead of harboring past hurts, is easily dispensed advice. But when Gordon casually brings up “an eye for an eye” in conversation, it’s unlikely that hugs are part of the endgame.
Archetype: Avenger. Bully. Liar. Victim. Detective.
Astrology Archetype: ♇ (Pluto)