No rest for the weary–and the wicked
Beware of helpful neighbors bearing gifts—but, Joel Edgerton’s twisted psychological thriller, “The Gift,” turns that cautionary warning on its head, and proves that things aren’t always what they seem. It keeps viewers guessing who’s predator and who’s prey as it proselytizes about the calamitous consequences of bullying.
Initially, the movie plays out like a conventional stalker chiller—about Simon and Robyn Callem (Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall), a married but childless couple from the Midwest who relocates to California a year after Robyn suffers a miscarriage and a nervous breakdown, and their awkward runs-in with their strange, new neighbor, Gordo (Edgerton).
There’s more to the couple’s struggling marriage than meets the eye, however—especially when the film’s director cleverly steers his storytelling further away from cheap hokum, and turns viewers’ expectations—inside out!
It doesn’t take long for Simon and Robyn to get spooked by the strange behavior of Gordo, who turns out to be a guy with a grudge from Simon’s past. He says he just wants “to let bygones be bygones,” but the situation gets murkier and more unnerving soon after Simon forbids Gordo to visit them again.
Simon seems to know very little about his former high school classmate—but, Robyn gets the shock of her life when she uncovers proof that her husband and his former classmate are more than mere acquaintances!
There’s also no rest for the weary—and the wicked—in John Erick Dowdle’s fictional “No Escape,” opening Aug. 19: Jack and Annie Dwyer (Owen Wilson, Lake Bell) and their two daughters don’t get the fresh start they want when the Texas-based company Jack works for goes belly-up, and forces his family to move to what looks like Bangkok—on the verge of a political meltdown!
They arrive in the Southeast Asian city just after its prime minister is killed by bolo-wielding and gun-toting dissidents, who blame all meddlesome foreigners for their woes. As the Dwyers hang on for dear life, they must make their way to the Vietnamese border, with the help of mysterious expat, Hammond (Pierce Brosnan). Indeed, desperate times call for desperate measures—because there’s nowhere else to go!
The “acts of terror” in the Thai capital that killed a lot of people early this week gain greater resonance when seen in the context of the movie’s lawless world that blames its troubles on economic meddlers who don’t do anything but push their third-world “enablers” around.
Dowdle’s prescient mind effectively zeroes in on this scenario, and turns the concept into a gruesome tale bursting with edge-of-your-seat thrills and “impossible” feats of derring-do—including a cringe-inducing scene that has the beleaguered father flinging his horrified daughters from one high-rise building to another, in a desperate act to “save” them from imminent death! For acrophobes and agoraphobes who want to face their biggest fears, this film is for you!