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The Gift (2000)

Cast: Cate Blanchett, Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi, more...
Director: Sam Raimi, Sam Raimi
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Paramount
Running Time: 111 min.
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English
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This title is currently out of print.

Supernatural horror meets character drama in this Sam Raimi-directed thriller. Set in Georgia, the film concerns a widowed mother named Annie (Cate Blanchett) who is blessed with the ability to have psychic visions. When Annie is asked to use her powers to investigate the murder of a rich society girl (Katie Holmes) who was engaged to a local high school principal (Greg Kinnear), she finds her "gift" is as destructive as it is helpful. Many of the townspeople have mixed regard for Annie's abilities, including an abusive husband (Keanu Reeves) and his brutalized wife (Hilary Swank) (the former threatens Annie and her children with taunts that she is a devil) as well as a deeply troubled auto mechanic (Giovanni Ribisi) who may hold a key to the events in question. The Georgia residents soon find themselves all suspects in the investigation, and Annie is forced to confront past demons while still trying to help solve the mystery. The Gift was co-written by Billy Bob Thornton, who appeared in another of Raimi's thrillers, A Simple Plan. ~ Jason Clark, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

The gift that you exchange the next day by rmarkd September 30, 2005 - 4:04 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Cate Blanchett stars as some country girl who can read minds by looking at Zener cards. Now, here's my first problem. Unless I'm missing something, these are cards used for scientifically testing ESP. It was distractring that she was using them for tarot cards. But anyway, her clientele include a woman abused by her husband (the wife played Hillary Swank, after "The Next Karate Kid" role and before "Million Dollar Baby", which I guess says you don't learn crap from Mr Miyagi) and a crazed hickish mechanic played by Giovanni Ribisi. Now, Ribisi is great in the role, but then again, he's played this role before. Seems like he ALWAYS plays this role. It's basically the role he played as lightning boy in The X-files except he has no superpower and there's not Agent Scully. Anyway, Blanchett's kid gets into a fight and she meets the soon to be married Greg Kinnear, her son's teacher. His fiancee is the "I'm pretty, but that's about it" Katie Holmes. Now, I haven't seen much of her, but the stuff I've seen her in is pretty mediocre. In fact, her best role is the one she's now, making Tom Cruise act like a moron in front of Oprah and a live studio audience. Most of the acting was pretty pedestrian, IMO. Only Ribisi's stood out. Well, actually, there was one other surprisingly good actor -- Keanu Reaves. I kid you not. He plays the abusive husband smacking around Hillary Swank, shooting squirells, smacking kids with caps, and generally being a prick. It's not a hard role, but this is Neo we're talking about. Any non-"whoa" role is Oscar calibur for him.

So, here's the deal, Katie Holmes gets killed, and Blanchet sees her dead body someplace. She tells the cops, who think she's a wacko. But then it turns our her visions are true. Now they believe her. But, of course, they don't even think that, uh, maybe she's an accomplice somehow...

There's a trial and someone gets convicted (duh, guess who), but wait, only like an hour has passed so there's obviously going to be some twist. Really, most of the movie writes itself after the first few minutes. Wrong person is accused, there's like 2 or 3 people who could be the murderer, but you don't know who. Eh, but you do find out at the end. Then course, at the very end, it finishes with a big twist that, I guess, is supposed to have you dropping your jaw. It did for me... in yawning format.

This has been a pretty harsh review and really, the movie isn't that bad. Problem is, there's just enough annoying stuff that I ended up focusing on it. I'm usually not a nitpick, but in this case, that's all I did.

5/10 -- I suppose you could enjoy it, but I didn't.

Showcasing Gifted Actors by dwhudson June 16, 2002 - 3:02 PM PDT
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
The main attractions here are the outstanding cast, the outstanding director (who's, of course, hot-hot-hot now) and the very idea of another screenplay by Billy Bob Thornton, again in collaboration with Tom Epperson. This is the fifth screenplay they've written together and they have yet to beat their first, One False Move.

And already, you can probably see where this is going: Thorton's gift, and it's an amazing one, is for acting, not for writing. See this movie not so much for the rather forgettable story, but for the chance to see some very fine talents at work. See it to watch Cate Blanchett not overwork the "I'm not really American, but look at me, I could pass" angle. There's just the right dash of Southern in her voice, and that's that; the rest of her energy is channeled into incarnating a soul so troubled, all you want to do is place your hands on her shoulders to steady her -- if only you weren't pretty sure she wouldn't let you.

One of the reasons I rented this is to see Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi work together after I'd seen them in Tom Tykwer's Heaven. As it turns out, both films have them bound by a unique and unlikely constellation of particulars; I'd say there's an attraction here, too, though Heaven actually has them recognize it and live it out. The contrast between Ribisi's characters is astounding, and while I'd be impressed by either performance alone, setting the two together has whet my appetite for anything with his name on it.

Kudos, too, to Greg Kinnear, who once again does "likable" and "underappreciated" quite well, Hilary Swank, and yes, damnit, Keanu Reeves. I hate admitting that he's perfect in this role. Drives me nuts. Keanu has got to be the #1 Idiot Savant of Acting.

Raimi works in some rather gorgeous under-the-skin images (when you get to the bit with the drop of water and the tree, you'll see what I mean), but his main concern here seems to be working with his actors on the rhythms of scenes, the nuances of characters, and leaving the whiz-bang stuff for another day. Good for him.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.45)
150 Votes
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