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brianmartin

Gurglings of a Putrid Stream

Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.

See also:  http://goppf.wikidot.com/swstart

My name:  Brian Martin

The Gift (2000), directed by Sam Raimi

The Gift -

I can tell you what's wrong with this movie. It's not a bad movie, by any means, and it has a solid cast (including Cate Blanchett, Keanu Reeves, Katie Holmes, and Hilary Swank). It's about a small town woman (Blanchett) with the "gift" of ESP whose visions concerning a local murder put her own life in danger. The problem is, the movie starts out as a story about the woman and certain other members of the town, then about halfway through becomes a whodunit. In order to preserve the mystery of the murderer's identity, all the early character development comes to an end, leaving us with just another routine mystery-thriller, albeit one with supernatural overtones.

 

A whodunit is possible because this town overflows with suspects. The woman, Annie, is a card reader. Her clients include Buddy (Giovanni Ribisi), a self-destructive, sometimes violent man who hates his father but has repressed the reason why, and Valerie (Swank), a battered woman whose psychotic husband (Reeves) might drive her to do anything. The murder victim (Holmes) turns out to be the town whore, engaged to one man but fooling around with multiple others, any one of whom may have killed her. It's all very melodramatic, but at the same time it's dark and fun because we actually start to care about these people. There's even the possibility of something deeper when Annie meets Wayne (Greg Kinnear) and discovers a spark between them.  Wayne, as it happens, is the hapless fiance. Their relationship isn't allowed to grow, however, because it gets derailed by the guessing game in the second half.

 

I saw this movie on Netflix with my wife, who liked it all right, but perhaps put it best when she said she was glad she hadn't paid to see it in a theater.