PLOT: Once upon a time, Jill Parrish was taken from her home and placed in a large hole in the middle of the woods. Lucky for her, she escaped. Yet when her sister goes missing a year or so after the incident, Jill is sure that it is the same man. Proving this to police becomes a difficult task for her since there was never any proof found in regards to her own kidnapping. Desperate and ready to face her darkest demon, she takes it upon herself to save her sister from that same crazed killer… if he exists!?!
Hey kids look, it’s Nancy Drew on acid… or at least some sort of illegal substance. If you don’t know the reference, “Nancy Drew” is a fictional teen detective. What does that have to do with the new flick starring Amanda Seyfried called GONE? Well, they are both equally unbelievable. When she realizes no one will believe that her sister has been kidnapped, Seyfried goes on her own investigation. This journey leads her to a few oddball moments where suspension of disbelief seems damn near impossible. Yet she has those big, beautiful eyes so why the f*ck not?
In GONE Seyfried plays Jill Parrish, a young woman who was supposedly taken from her bed one night and placed in a deep hole in the middle of the forest. Somehow she escaped, but because the police department is staffed by a bunch of morons they find no evidence of the kidnapper or the kidnapping. Of course, these cops couldn’t find a hole in their own butt let alone the middle of the woods. So this poor girl is committed and given treatment for her wacky stories. Of course the audience is forced into the “is she or isn’t she crazy” thing which mostly makes everybody else look nutso. After a year or two has passed (I honestly don’t remember how long it was), Jill’s sister Molly (Emily Wickersham) disappears. Thus, GONE spends its time setting up red herrings and playing wink-wink with the audience in regards to Jill’s sanity.
Much of what went into this ultra safe thriller is generic and predictable. Director Heitor Dhalia and screenwriter Allison Burnett build very little tension or suspense. We simply follow Jill to her job and then back to her home where her sister has gone missing. The rest of the plot is so far-fetched and ill conceived that it is hard to take any of the proceedings too seriously. Do they expect us to believe – no matter how desperate she is – Amanda Seyfried could outrun police in a car chase? Each clue is blatantly obvious and the “surprises” are few and far between. Hell, there is even the old cat jumping out of a closet scare to make the audience jump. Who are they trying to scare with that? Even younger audiences won’t be all that terrified when Garfield gives his menacing “meow.”
As by the books and thrill-less as this is, it isn’t as bad as it could have been. First off, you can’t help but root for Seyfried, especially when the moronic cops don’t even bother checking her story. Even with the coolness of Michael Pare as the Lieutenant, these officers of the law were worthless. Yet Seyfried’s performance is convincing enough to charm the hell out of you, even if her adventures are utterly implausible. Also quite good is Wickersham as Molly. She is incredibly likable and her relationship with Jill was shockingly effective. Of course she’d better be worth caring for if her sister would be willing to risk everything to track her down – the killer tends to keep the victims until night falls so time is of the essence.
Besides a couple of decent cast member including Jennifer Carpenter (“Dexter”) and Wickersham, there is one other thing that I appreciated about GONE. A couple of the choices our heroine makes at the end of the film are unusual for this kind of thriller. It is not nearly as safe and PC as one would expect. Not that this is a great ending thanks to a ridiculously anti-climatic finale, but hey, at least it didn’t wimp out as much as it could have. If you happen to be a fan of the lovely Amanda Seyfried, then maybe you should hope she chooses some better films. However, if you have nothing better to do, this might be worth checking out as a cheapo DVD rental. It might even end up as a dumb and goofy guilty pleasure.
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