The Gift is destined to always be a three star out of five film, though don't let that dissuade you from watching it, because that's not to say that it's worthless. Far from it. Co-scripted by Billy Bob Thornton, The Gift relates the rather straightforward story of a woman (Cate Blanchett) haunted by her psychic visions of the murder of a young girl (Katie Holmes) from the backwater town she lives in. Red herrings abound, almost to the point of ridiculousness where you begin to suspect pretty much every character bar Blanchett's.
What lifts the movie out of its mediocrity is the fact that it's cast does so much with the slight material they've been handed. Blanchett proves that Elizabeth was no fluke, giving a typically strong performance of a woman on the edge of breakdown. Given her recent casting as lead in movies such as Charlotte Gray and Heaven, along with some high profile supporting roles in Lord of the Rings and The Talented Mr. Ripley, this is one actress who's undoubtedly going to go far. Every bit as good as Blanchett though is Giovanni Ribisi, playing a deranged man-child who forms an unwholesome attachment to Blanchett. His weepy yet electrifying performance rivets the movie in place in a much more powerful way that Keanu Reeves' bearded psycho could ever manage. Surprisingly, director Sam Raimi has also managed to garner Oscar-winner Hilary Swank who, despite turning in a solid performance, gives the impression that Boys Don't Cry might have been the best role she's ever likely to get in a while if she's taking relatively small roles in something like this.
Whilst this never reaches the highs of other recent ghost stories (The Sixth Sense, The Others and the Japanese version of Ring are all much better), this is nothing short of a solid effort from the director of zombie classic Evil Dead, and is rarely short of compelling. If it lacks a little originality in the script give it some credit; there's a place for small-ish movies like this, especially given Raimi's latest blockbuster Spiderman. In short - good, but no classic.