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The Gift 2000

Jan 3, 2005 (Updated Jan 3, 2005)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:cast especially Reeves

Cons:too dang predictable darn it

The Bottom Line: ____________

I can’t imagine what a miserable life you would have to be born with psychic abilities. Maybe you don’t believe in such things, a lot of people don’t, but I think some people just have that inner eye and what a miserable gift it must be.

The Story
In The Gift, young Annie Wilson has the gift, passed down through the generations. Since her husband was killed, leaving her with 3 young boys to raise, she has put that gift to use, earning a few dollars now and again. For the most part, the people that come to see her really don’t need her to tell them their ‘futures’ or whatever. They know the circumstances they live under, they just need to talk to someone. Annie is that someone.

Not that this makes her the most welcome person in this small Georgia town. Indeed, Valerie’s abusive husband, Donnie, wants her to stay away from his wife. Not because Donnie is afraid his dark secrets will be discovered, hell you can see that stamped on Valerie’s face everyday. And her eye. And her lip, back, legs.

And there is Buddy, kinda slow and loveable but very intense. You know there are dark secrets brewing below his child like face. Of course, you’d have to be a dolt to not be able to figure out what his long buried problem is, but what the hey, it makes for movie time.

A lot of people touch on Annie’s life, she touches on theirs. She doesn’t always want to be in the position she is in, but things just come to her. Things like a dead body, wrapped in chains, floating over her head. The body of a young debutante that had been missing for several days. The girl, Jessica, was engaged to school principal, Wayne. Wayne is an ordinary man, not used to the high life and certainly amazed that the beautiful and rich Jessica is his intended.

There is also the town sheriff, Pearl Johnson. Seems good old boy Pearl is a best friend to dang near everyone in town, except Annie. They are all his huntin or drinkin buddies. Why his crowd of guys simply couldn’t do anything wrong, let alone kill someone.

But Jessica is missing and Annie knows where she is and eventually who did the nasty deed. All anyone has to do is believe.

The Cast
I can’t imagine what the payroll for this baby must have been. Good heavens, lotsa big names involved.

Cate Blanchett - the psychic Annie Wilson. Truthfully I didn’t recognize her, I’m used to short choppy hair but I guess they had to keep with the theme of ‘under the thumb stay at homers’ or ‘my old lady is in the house’ type of women, totally dominated by Their Men. Blanchett was good in the role but I didn’t think she particularly shined. For the most part she was believable, if distant.

Giovanni Ribisi - Buddy, the town mechanic. Ribisi blew me away, his mood swings and appearance were just incredible. Toward the end he reminded me of Victor Pascow from Pet Sematary. Creepy.

Katie Holmes - debutante and dead girl, Jessica. One of those parts where you just love to hate the person. What a witch!

J. K. Simmons - that would be Sheriff Pearl Johnson to you. He is one of my favorite people since the HBO series OZ. He was a little leaner here but he still had that good old boy, men rule, attitude he carried in OZ.

Hilary Swank - Valerie Barksdale, the beaten wife. This was her first role since Boys Don’t Cry and I guess I expected more from her. Of course, she did just what she was supposed to, simper and whine in the background.

Greg Kinnear - Principal Wayne Collins. I’ve seen Kinnear in a lot of roles now and I find his creepy parts just a little bit to realistic. Maybe he’s a closet weirdo - grin. By the end of the movie I wouldn’t have let this guy touch me with a 10’ pole, he got that bizarre.

Keanu Reeves - Donnie Barksdale. You almost want to say Donnie Darko, this was as far removed from any Keanu movie I’ve ever seen as possible. I just couldn’t get it in my head that this was sweet Keanu Reeves. The fact that he convinced me he was a total jerk and a blazingass half way through the movie goes to his talent.

Add to that, direction by Sam Raimi who has a penchant for the unusual. He seems to lust after Stephen King movies and was responsible for that little sweetie A Simple Plan, which was anything but simple. Writing was attributed to Tom Epperson and Billy Bob Thornton, need I say more?

DVD extras
Scene selection
‘Making of” with interviews with cast and Raimi
Some really strange music video by someone and her boyfriends about a burning room or something. Frankly I clicked right off it after she started singing. I thought it would be listed somewhere but it isn’t. Guess that is testament enough.

My thoughts
In idea it is a good movie, in cast it is a good movie, but overall it is very predictable. Didn’t mean I didn’t jump a few times cause I did. I had picked two guys for the killer early on and quickly narrowed it down to the real dude. The ending, as well, was predictable, but I don’t care. Frankly I liked the movie, maybe because it didn’t require any real thought process.


Recommend this product? Yes

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