(directed by Joel Edgerton, 2015)
**** (out of 5)
> Written and helmed and by actor Joel Edgerton in his directorial debut, this is a creepy and effective thriller that plays out like the fantasy of anyone who was severely bullied as a child.
. A successful professional couple (Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall), move to a new town, where they run into “Gordy” an old schoolmate of Jason’s in a grocery store. He seems inordinately happy to see his old acquaintance, a fact that makes Jason more than a little uncomfortable. When Gordy begins showing up unannounced at their home and leaving little gifts, the unease only escalates. He begins to seem like a stalker, and Jason is convinced he’s hitting on his wife. But this is one of those films where things are definitely not as one supposes they are. To give away any more would be a step too far.
. Let’s just say that this is a very good goosebump film, very well written and directed. Joel Edgerton is quite a talent to be reckoned with! And the acting is excellent. Jason Bateman, who I often mistake for a lightweight, as he does comedy so deftly, is called upon to do some heavy lifting here, and he proves absolutely up to it. Fascinating actress Rebecca Hall is just as compelling to watch, and Mr. Edgerton strikes all the right notes as the socially awkward man who was so traumatized by his youth, he was not able to carry on into a normal adulthood. As Gordy begins to extract his long-simmering revenge, we have to decide: is he the culprit, or the wronged party?
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