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Directed by Sam Raimi, the film features an ensemble cast including Hilary Swank, Keanu Reeves, Katie Holmes, Greg Kinnear and Giovanni Ribisi. "The Gift" was written by Billy Bob Thorton and Tom Epperson, and features numerous weird and scary characters that are portrayed in excellent style by the star studded cast. The story at times is somewhat weak, however, overall I thought the film turned out to be a strong thriller that is perhaps one of the best thrillers of 2000. It's hard to summarize this film, as I don’t want to give anything away. I was impressed by Raimi's smooth direction and his ability to keep the story flowing until the end when it unravels, giving the audience a surprise ending.

Gift, The
Blanchett is terrific as the single mom/tarot card reader whose role is performed very convincingly. Swank is wonderful as a woman stuck in an abusive relationship, while Reeves certainly shines as an abusive husband who is hard not to forget. His role has certainly proven to me that Reeves can act and doesn’t have to be weighed down with roles that make him look stupid. His character left an impression on me!

Holmes, who plays the young girl gone missing, is great! Her role is somewhat minor but she is outstanding and has been given the opportunity to show off her acting talents as well as other qualities about her. The only thing I couldn't seem to shake from my mind was that she just seemed too young to be engaged to Greg Kinnear’s character, Wayne. It seemed a little too unrealistic for me, however I did manage to get beyond it.

Giovanni Ribisi as the mentally disabled mechanic, Buddy, is also stunning. Ribisi is extremely blessed with the acting talent as he pulls this one off with sheer perfection.

With a perfect ensemble cast, The Gift works on all levels of a psychological thriller.

Gift, The
Video
Paramount has presented The Gift in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen that looks outstanding! The detail, sharpness and colors are fantastic and certainly add to this outstanding film. I did notice a few speckles, however, they were few and far between and the amount of detail and the richness of the colors certainly overshadow any blemishes that I noticed. This is a great transfer of possibly one of the greatest films of 2000.

Audio
The usually Dolby Digital 5.1 track is used here and it sounds great. For a thriller, there are of course moments where a sound will "jump out" at you from the rear speakers. There were several moments during the film in which the sound startled me out of my chair and made my heart pump a bit faster! Dialogue was crisp and clear with very little distortion if any. Great audio mix, way to go Paramount!

Extras
Well, surprise, surprise, a Paramount release, with very few extras. Although I shouldn’t be too hard on the studio as there is at least something other then being a bare bones disc. There is a "Making of Featurette" that contains interviews with the cast and some on-set footage. It's somewhat entertaining, but has the promotional feeling to it. Also presented is a music video for the song "Furnace Room Lullaby" by Neko Case. Although I don't necessarily get into videos as a whole, I thought the video was good as well as the song. Finally, there is the standard theatrical trailer.

Gift, The
Overall
Unfortunately, moviegoers missed this little gem at the box office. I certainly hope that it will be given the opportunity to find its audience while on DVD.  The Gift is an outstanding film and those that miss it will certainly be cheating themselves. All around the performances are fantastic and memorable. Director Sam Raimi is outstanding at putting his hand at thrillers and he certainly succeeds with this one as well. Overall the film is a bit creepy with twists and turns throughout, I highly recommend this film.


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