The following story is going to have to get into spoilers for The Gift, so stop reading now if you haven’t yet seen the film.
Joel Edgerton’s feature-length directorial debut, The Gift, was a taut little exercise in psychological manipulation and long-play revenge. But Edgerton’s best gift to his fans was the open-ended mystery he provided in the closing minutes. We have a baby, but we have no idea who the father might be. We even dedicated an entire feature to debating the possibilities. The answer, it seemed, was in the eye of each audience member.
When I ran in to Joel Edgerton at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he was promoting Black Mass, he told me that he actually shot alternate endings to The Gift that would make the answer more abundantly clear. Now, we’re thrilled to be able to show you one of those endings, which will be part of the movie’s DVD release:
Edgerton told me that part of the reason why he didn’t go with these options as his ending is because he viewed them as too cut and dried, and he wanted to leave some ambiguity to his finale. I couldn’t agree more. When The Gift concludes, we’re stuck in the same unenviable position as Simon (Jason Bateman), wondering if the man that he picked on for years had actually impregnated his wife (Rebecca Hall), meaning that Simon’s child isn’t really his own. It might be Gordo’s.
The above scene takes the movie one additional step, showing Edgerton – as Gordo – removing his mask but NOT having sex with Rebecca Hall’s character, Robyn. It lets the movie audience off the hook, and doesn’t land with the same impact as the ending that Edgerton ultimately chose for his theatrical cut.
The Gift was a surprise hit for Joel Edgerton and STX Entertainment. It had a reported budget of $5 million, but fantastic reviews and strong word of mouth helped power the disturbing indie thriller to a robust $53.2 million worldwide gross. Edgerton continues to make his bones as a stellar actor, holding court opposite Johnny Depp in Black Mass or Natalie Portman in the upcoming Jane Got a Gun. But The Gift showed that he absolutely has a future as a gifted storyteller behind the camera, once he’s ready to dedicate more time to that aspect of the business. We can’t wait to see what he directs next.
The Gift DVD/Blu-Ray is available on Oct. 27.