Editor’s note: This review first was published Feb. 24, 2012.
‘Gone’ somehow suspenseful even when nothing’s happening
The real mystery in “Gone,” Summit Entertainment’s foray into the dense forests of the Pacific Northwest (think “Twilight’s” sweeping aerial shots), is how, even though nothing of real importance occurs until the movie’s final minutes, you’re still gripped by a never-ending suspense that far surpasses what the action happening in front of you merits.
There’s rarely any thrills, or action, in “Gone,” directed by Heitor Dhalia and written by Allison Burnett. Yet, for some unknown reason, you’re dragged through this plight as if your very life depended on it. Which, in Jill Parrish’s case, it just might.
The focus of “Gone,” Jill (Amanda Seyfried, “Red Riding Hood” — read that review here) is living day to day, constantly reliving the traumatic kidnapping she endured a year ago. Or so she says. No one seems to believe her, least of all because there’s no proof to validate her claims. She says she was thrown in a hole out in Forest Park, a forest covering more than 5,000 square miles. The police can’t find it. She says she fought and escaped her captor. The police note she has no defensive wounds.
So, she takes self-defense courses, avoids strangers while walking on dark streets and carries a gun. (Although, because she was forced into a mental institution after her incident, she’s not legally allowed to carry a firearm. Oops.)
But how crazy can Jill be if not 10 minutes into the movie her sister goes missing? You see, when Jill returns home, said sister has simply vanished without a trace, and it’s only natural for Jill to assume her kidnapper broke into her house (without any signs of forced entry) and stole her sister in the middle of the night in order to get back at her for getting away. And she wonders why police consider her crazy?
Well, it gets crazier, especially when she starts flashing her gun in the face of every male she encounters. (On that note, it would seem no one has heard of shampoo or a razor in this reality. It is Portland, but still … And not every killer is some long-haired, dark-featured mess. Remember Ted Bundy?)
At this point, Seyfried becomes the suspense factor: Will she find her kidnapper and save her sister? Will she get caught by the cops trying to prevent her from dropping someone in the street? Or will she be revealed to be completely crazy, living in her own fantasy, “Sucker Punch”-style?
It doesn’t matter. The lackluster script leaves you completely in the dark the whole time, leading you to believe the kidnapper (if he even does exist) could be one of a bevy of evil men. And “Gone” is chock-full of red herrings, to the point of utter confusion. Half the men are simply one-sceners, and the rest more or less prove pointless in the end.
To top that, Seyfried delivers another wide-eyed, blank performance worthy of Kristen Stewart’s Bella. The movie’s writer fails to link her mental instability with any premise in the movie, and it seems as if Jill is inherently disconnected from those around her.
But hey, when you get the hear some guy described as having “rapey eyes,” can it be all that bad? Yes, yes it can.
One missing star out of five.