The Gift

Writers Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson combine the ideals of character- and plot-driven drama in this creepy mood piece that proves the serious chiller has survived yet another round of tongue-in-cheek excess. A psychic (Cate Blanchett) is trying so hard to give guidance to her beleaguered neighbors in a small Georgia town that she's put off grieving for her recently deceased husband. After being asked by police to help find a missing person, she realizes that a man her visions have made the prime suspect in a murder may not be the killer. Director Sam Raimi evokes her point of view with an audacious—not campy—use of sound effects, incidental music, and old-fashioned subjective montage, drawing us into a vortex of barely repressed malevolence swirling around a woman whose gift is also a curse. With Giovanni Ribisi, Greg Kinnear, Keanu Reeves, Gary Cole, Hilary Swank, and Katie Holmes. 112 min.

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