2000’s The Gift by Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, Drag Me to Hell, Spider Mans) is a very quirky, dark way to tell the story of a mysterious murder, but I guess it makes sense the two be synonymous. The film was shot in a small Georgia town and surrounds a local psychic, Annabelle Wilson (Cate Blanchett). When a young vixen (Katie Holmes) is found dead and naked in a pond, Annabelle thinks she knows who did it and the wrong man is convicted (Keanu Reeves). Then she figures out the true killer, but is it too late? I’m not telling.
The film’s mood was very eerie and depressing which was the point — bad people are rampant in this film. Wilson is a very innocent character who’s dealing with a lot of her own shit — being a poor widow with two sons. But with her natural clairvoyant abilities comes the needy townspeople. Whether it’s Hilary Swank as a poor lady being beaten by her husband (Reeves), or a mentally ill Giovanni Ribisi, or an emotionally lost Greg Kinnear, Blanchett’s character had her finger on the pulse of her town. It put her in a bad situation as her neighbors began to turn on each other and get violent. As Wilson’s abilities reveal the true murderer in the town, she gets terribly close to being murdered herself.
It’s not embarrassing to admit the film’s highlight, and something definitely deserving of its own paragraph, is Katie Holmes naked. Oh remember the covered-up days of “Dawson’s Creek.” But I love that Holmes is more comfortable now embracing her sexy side (much like Anne Hathaway is doing now in Love and Other Drugs). I can’t wait to see Holmes and Josh Duhamel in The Romantics, which just came out today!
All of the film’s acting was incredible. With so many famous names in the film it would take way too long to go into each one. I will say the ones that stood out are Blanchett, Kinnear — as such a loveable, deserving character that happens to have one major flaw: extreme jealousy, — J.K. Simmons as the local sheriff, and Ribisi. Sam Raimi is so good at creating tense, emotionally driven films. His characters are scarily easy to relate to which makes it more compelling. Oddly enough the film is co-written by actor Billy Bob Thorton. Which I didn’t know until I just now looked it up. That makes me like both Thorton and the film so much more. I learned this tidbit from IMDb, “(The film is ) based on Billy Bob Thornton’s own mother’s psychic abilities.” Anyways, the film is produced in a unique way with its use of slow motion and psychic images.