Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Gift

Title: The Gift (2000)
Dir: Sam Raimi
Rating: ***1/2 out of 5 stars

Ahh, my final Sam Raimi film!*

*Not counting For Love of the Game, which I'll probably never watch - sorry, Sam.

Written by Billy Bob Thorton and directed by God, The Gift is a supernatural thriller about a psychic (Cate Blanchett) who has visions of a murder in her small backwoods town. Her testimony leads to the arrest of a redneck wife-beater (Keanu Reeves), who threatens her and her children. Then, as her visions become more clear, she begins to question if the right man is behind bars.

With the exception of Reeves and Katie Holmes (who played the murder victim, thankfully), the cast is pretty good. Blanchett is strong and sympathetic as a single mother who didn't ask for her psychic gift but must deal with the consequences it brings. Rounding out the cast are Greg Kinnear as the murder victim's grieving fiance; Hilary Swank as a battered wife (sporting one hideous mullet); and Giovanni Ribisi, who gives a particularly disturbing performance as a mentally unbalanced man. Oh, and Gary Cole plays an attorney! I just had to mention that. Birdman, get in here!

I liked the story, and the murder mystery kept me guessing until the end. But the film failed to really haunt me afterwards. I prefer Raimi's other dark thriller, A Simple Plan. I loved that movie long before I knew who Sam was. It was better-written and much more haunting than The Gift. The latter is still good and my man did a great job directing. I liked it more than expected, but it's still one of Raimi's lesser works. I blame Neo and Mrs. Cruise!