The Gift

A restrained, adult thriller from one-time wunderkinder Sam Raimi, whose rock 'em/shock 'em EVIL DEAD pictures once raised the bar on gross-out horror movies, and screenwriters Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson (ONE FALSE MOVE). Small-town widow Annie Wilson (Cate Blanchett) is raising three boys in sleepy, insular Brixton, Ga., supplementing...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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A restrained, adult thriller from one-time wunderkinder Sam Raimi, whose rock

'em/shock 'em EVIL DEAD pictures once raised the bar on gross-out horror

movies, and screenwriters Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson (ONE FALSE

MOVE). Small-town widow Annie Wilson (Cate Blanchett) is raising three boys in

sleepy, insular Brixton, Ga., supplementing her survivor's benefits by

utilizing the gift she inherited from her beloved grandma. Annie has "the

sight" — she can peer into people's futures, though frankly, she's as

much of a good listener and sensible advisor as a psychic card reader

(Thornton reportedly based the character loosely on his own mother). Her

clients include battered wife Valerie Barksdale (Hilary Swank) and high-strung

mechanic Buddy Cole (Giovanni Ribisi), who's clearly damaged by ugly childhood

experiences he can't face. In addition to worrying about their problems,

Annie's got some on the home front: Valerie's volatile husband, Donnie (Keanu

Reeves), is threatening Annie's family, and her oldest son, Mike (Lynnsee

Provence), still dealing with his father's death, is in trouble at school. Called in to meet with Principal Wayne Collins (Greg Kinnear), Annie has a

disturbing vision of his fiancée, flirtatious rich girl Jessica King

(Katie Holmes): Annie sees her standing in a pool of water, her legs putrid

and weed-tangled. Annie keeps her council, but when her distraught father asks

for help after Jessica vanishes, Annie has another vision that reveals her

whereabouts. Something about what she's seen doesn't quite fit, though, and

Annie's further investigations uncover secrets even she knew nothing about.

Though the last half hour slips into genre clichés, Blanchett's quietly

radiant performance anchors even the most outrageous plot developments, and

she's well-supported on all sides — as a brutal redneck with a sweet

Southern-boy façade, Reeves is nothing less than a revelation. And while

the film overall is more concerned with mounting menace than edge-of-your-seat

shocks, it delivers a couple of stunners.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: R
  • Review: A restrained, adult thriller from one-time wunderkinder Sam Raimi, whose rock 'em/shock 'em EVIL DEAD pictures once raised the bar on gross-out horror movies, and screenwriters Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson (ONE FALSE MOVE). Small-tow… (more)

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