The Gift (2000)
Let’s get one thing clear right off the bat: Keanu Reeves is probably not even his mother’s favourite actor, and if he ever wins an Academy Award for acting it will be a very poor year in cinema indeed. However, in The Gift, as an asshole wife beater who the audience is not supposed to like anyway, he is actually a very good and believable choice. If this isn’t his best performance, it’s certainly top three.
The Gift is a thriller with a little of the supernatural thrown in to the mix, about a missing woman presumed by the authorities to be dead. It is not particularly spooky or thrilling, but that’s all right though, because this movie is more about rural Americana and the interesting characters on display than it is about cheap jump scares.
The Gift has a stacked cast as well, which helps with the required acting chops – from Cate Blanchett’s soft-spoken small-town psychic who helps the authorities with their enquiries, to Hilary Swank as the destination for Keanu’s wild fists, and the always watchable Giovanni Ribisi as the disturbed mechanic, whose rage bubbles just below the surface.
And then there’s Katie Holmes. Playing the missing woman in question, she moves – quite definitively – away from her Dawson’s Creek roots, with a very… grown up performance.