Sometimes trees can be really, really creepy. Especially those found in the swamplands of Savannah, Georgia where the The Gift, by director Sam Raimi, was shot in 2000.
The film is set in the small, fictional town of Brixton, a haven for old school, witch-huntin' rednecks. The small town's right wing, white trash characters are all so convincing, it should come as no surprise to learn that the film was co-written by Oscar winning writer Billy Bob Thornton.
Brixton is home to the demure and unassuming widow Annie Wilson (Cate Blanchett), a poverty-stricken mother of three and the town psychic. While Annie struggles to raise her three boys, she gives readings to many clients, including the long-suffering Valerie Barksdale (Hilary Swank), who is beaten up regularly by the deplorable Donnie Barksdale (Keanu Reeves). An enraged and very menacing Donnie threatens Annie and her boys after she counsels Valerie to leave him. As Donnie Barksdale, Keanu Reeves shows he can, in fact, act his way out of a paper bag, something I never thought was possible!
The film heats up with the disappearance of Jessica King (Katie Holmes), the coquettish daughter of Brixton's most prominent businessman and fiancée to Wayne Collins (Greg Kinnear), the town's school principal.
The local authorities turn to Annie for supernatural guidance in locating Jessica and, as she leads them towards solving the mystery, the investigation weaves together all the characters in this wonderful, taut, who-done-it thriller. Truly star-studded and with great acting across the board, The Gift is a great way to kill an evening.
While watching The Gift with my honey, we ruthlessly murdered a bottle of Cypress Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 ($14.95 CDN, $9.99 USD). Cypress trees have eerie, windswept and mystical qualities, and are native to Georgia but grow more abundantly in California, home of Cypress Vineyards in California's Central Coast.
Cypress Vineyards is a brand of wine owned by the great J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines
. Jerry Lohr has been making wine since the early 70s and produces five tiers of wine brands to suit different tastes and budgets, under the skilled craftsmanship of winemaker Jeff Meier. The J. Lohr commitment to quality always shines through from their Estate wines to entry-level brands like Cypress Vineyards, and this Cab really delivers with most of the grapes drawn from the famed Paso Robles region.
The Cypress Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 is a deep, brooding purple in color, with a powerful, jammy nose booming with black fruit and a hint of tobacco. The palate is rich and smooth and gets more delicious sip after sip, a testament to the terrific 2007 growing season in California. Enjoy tonight or through 2012. Great length, great value, great gift. Try it.
Jill Vanderkooy, Sommelier and certifiable bon vivant, has worked in the wine industry for over 10 years, has been drinking wine for 25 years and is a true devotee of film across all genres. Her liver thanks you for reading.