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The Gift movie review

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The Gift

The Gift is a remarkable piece of work from American director Sam Raimi, bringing together an all-star cast in an engrossing story that deliberately thrills and teasingly horrifies.

Set in the sultry American southern state of Georgia, 'The Gift' tells the tale of Annie Wilson (Aussie gal Cate Blanchett) who after the untimely death of her husband supplements her welfare cheques by giving psychic readings to a variety of intriguing small-town characters.

movie poster, The Gift, Festivale film review section
movie poster, The Gift, Festivale film review section

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Among them are Academy Award winner Hilary Swank, who gives an impressive performance as an abused housewife, and Giovanni Ribisi, who plays beautifully as a deeply disturbed motor mechanic.

After the disappearance of the beautiful heiress Jessica King (played by the ever-more -serious actress Katie Holmes), a lack of evidence leads Jessica's family (including her likeable fiancÚ played by Greg Kinnear) and the police to approach Annie, in the hope that her 'gift' will help them find the missing girl. After getting involved with the case Annie must face the witch-cries of the townsfolk, as well as the violent resentment of a deranged wife-beater and potential killer (Keanu Reeves). Annie's 'gift' gives her frightening clues to this stirring mystery which draw her inexorably closer to its unexpected conclusion.

Each member of the cast delivers a convincing performance, Blanchett especially, displaying once again her versatile aptitude for dramatic roles.

Ribisi's realisation of his unusual character is magnificent, easily drawing the audience into one of the film's more challenging psychological aspects.

Swank is wonderfully articulate in her portrayal of the pitiful abused wife, her inter-play with Blanchett's character being particularly striking. In something of a change of pace for Kinnear, he does well as the surprising widower, demonstrating a range that has only been hinted at in his previous work. Holmes is persuasive in her role as the flirtatious daddy's girl, though her performance fails to make much of an impression on the audience. Though certainly potent this is not one of Reeves' most memorable performances, but he certainly does his part in making the film something to remember.

Written by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson 'The Gift' is a thoroughly enjoyable, multifarious murder mystery come thriller, flavoured with the supernatural and delivered brilliantly by the cream of modern-day talent. A definite must-see. 9/10

Send your comments or review P.A. Pittas
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Just the facts:

Title: The Gift (2001)
Written by: Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson
Directed by:
running time:

The Players: Keanu Reeves, Katie Holmes, Hilary Swank,
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Filed: 01-Mar-2001 : Last updated: : Last tested: 26-Jan-2009: Last Compiled: 08-Aug-2014
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