Sam Raimi's The Gift - Review
PLOT - In a small Southern town, a local single mother reads cards using what her grandmother used to refer as her "Gift". One night a young woman goes missing and her family, fiancée, and the local police turn towards her as a last ditch effort to try and find her and what happened the night she disappeared.
LOWDOWN - I am a HUGE Sam Raimi fan. Always have been, always will be (I even don't hold Spiderman 3 against him.) My obsession and love for this genius of a man is endless. When I look at everyone in the horror industry, all these actors, writers, producers, and directors I see so much talent. For Sam he seems to almost be the goofball of the crew. First off he started off when he was just a teenager with a camera fooling around with a bunch of his friends making Super8 movies. This man took a small circle of friends and family and seriously went to complete Hell and back to make the beloved horror classic The Evil Dead. When one does their research or talks to anyone involved behind the production of that very low budget movie, it makes one wonder why so many big money movies turn out to be complete and utter shit, while Sam who had a passion for what he did took the little resources he had and made a movie that's so iconic it spawned two sequels and now an upcoming remake. I think what makes Mr. Raimi stand out from everyone else is the fact he reminds you of a guy would would know back at school. The kind who was a practical joker, that would have a beer with you one second, and then chase you around laughing the next. Even after all these years and big budget movies, I can still see the inner child that Sam is whenever there's behind the scenes footage of him.
I love Sam so much that I'm still in the process of trying to work with my tattoo artist to get him tattooed on me from the 1989 slasher Intruder.
Sam's career had been very eventful and interesting. Establishing himself as one awesome kick ass horror director, he began to branch out with other works. His action adventure revenge movie Darkman, the epic western The Quick And The Dead, and of course the movie that finally won him some highly respect with his drama/thriller A Simple Plan.
Shortly before he began work on the movie that would skyrocket him as a director (Spiderman) he directed what in my eyes is my all time favorite movie he's ever directed.
I still have very strong memories of renting this movie when it was first released and falling completely in love with it. In fact as the years went on and everyone I met who was a fan of The Evil Dead series I would always bring up The Gift and what a great movie it was.
Sam Raimi is one Hell of a director. He is able to shape an atmosphere and make it so rich and visually stunning. Taking some very big stars at the time, he placed them in roles that were not only believable but very welcoming. This man seriously needs to do a mini series soon.
Annie is a character you can't help but connect with. She's likeable, simple, and beautiful. I always love the scene of her laying in bed staring at the framed photograph of her husband and just crying in the dark. Even though Cate Blanchett is seriously everywhere, this is one of my favorite performances she's ever given. The next heavy player is of course Giovanni Ribisi who I will forever remember him in The Other Sister and now him dancing to "I think we're alone now" in Ted. This is one role he really hit home with. It was some heavy duty stuff he dealt with and simply made it into perfection.
Seeing a few of Raimi's regulars along with some others (I feel the studio took a good number of the big Oscar winners and crammed them all into this one film) Usually I hate whenever they do this, but somehow with the solid script and Raimi's direction it worked. Hell, I even didn't mind Keanu Reeves in his role.
This movie had some very suspenseful moments and the settings/visuals/and dream scenes were nothing less than beautiful. Another thing that makes me love this movie even more is the score. I have it downloaded on my Ipod and it's seriously the most beautiful peaceful music to listen to when one is stuck in traffic and wants to kill somebody.
This movie offers so much, it pulls off being creepy, tragic, and being completely gorgeous. I could go on for days about all the scenes that are breathtaking to me. This is a classic whodunnit story that makes nearly everyone a suspect. In fact the first time I saw this movie I couldn't believe who the murderer ended up being. I loved how Raimi sorta played down the whole psychic thing. The Annie character was just a simple plain sweet woman who was trying to support her three children. I loved the scene where she sees her grandmother who informs her that a storm is coming. I love movies about psychics and people with second sight. Usually these movies show how having these abilities comes with a curse (Psychic, The Dead Zone, Rose Red, ect.) I loved all the dream scenes. I fiddler scene always creeps me out (Danny Elfman you creepy bastard you...) and of course whenever Annie visits the pond. I loved the beyond unsettling moment when Jessica's body is found and how her poor father stumbles into the water telling them to get the hooks out of her. It seemed as though if you paid closer attention, there was a lot going on in this small town. But then again maybe that's the truth with most towns...there's a lot hidden beneath the surface.
I love the scene of Buddy coming to the aid of one of Annie's sons. Best breakdown ever. I love how he just strolls over and completely looses. it. Gets me every time.
The best part of this movie of course is the ending. I loved the shot of the blood slowly trickling down Annie's face. The exchange in the end between Annie and Buddy without giving too much away for those who haven't seen the movie yet is so well written. I love the line of Buddy telling Annie that he escaped, that he's finally free.
So whenever people talk about Sam Raimi, goofball slapstick, blood gore hound...there's another side of him. A movie he made between the madness of the Evil Dead movies, and the successful Spiderman series. This movie is simple, haunting, and beautiful. I highly recommend it to anyone.