Joel Edgerton has proven himself a reliable actor over the last several years. The onetime Uncle Owen in the Star Wars prequels has gone on to perform very well in films like Warrior, Zero Dark Thirty, and Loving. He’s great as an everyman, as a normal, relatable guy — the type of character that someone with too recognizable a brand, like Brad Pitt or George Clooney, just can’t play anymore. Edgerton’s filmography is peppered with a writing credit here and there, but in 2015, he made his proper debut with a film called The Gift.
Edgerton wrote, directed, and starred in the film, so his passion for the story is evident from the beginning. The Gift is a tense, riveting thriller about a man played by Jason Bateman who finds his life under a sort of quiet, passive siege from a figure from his past named Gordo (played by Edgerton), who he used to bully as a child. The script draws heavily from the structure and pacing pioneered by acclaimed directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Brian DePalma, and while it’s more impressive that Edgerton both wrote and directed the film, it’s also worth mentioning that his performance as Gordo is possibly the best of his career so far. Critics noticed the performance and the work he did offscreen as well, with the film receiving wide acclaim. Edgerton will be back as a writer and director soon with the upcoming Boy Erased and it’s looking like another career highlight.