Gone first presents itself as nothing more than a by-the-numbers psychological thriller wrapped in a glossy coating of conspiracy.
But in truth, Gone’s protagonist gives the film a bit more meat under its finely cut, suspense-lacking skin, and how competent actors can elevate anything from mediocre to entertaining.
Gone follows the story of Jill (Amanda Seyfried) who comes home to find her sister Molly (Emily Wickersham) missing. And when Jill runs to the local authorities for help, the police are skeptical about Jill’s allegations. But Jill isn’t just any young blonde from the neighborhood. Her recent history of mental illness and growing dependency on anti-depressants makes her an unreliable source for the cops. In a nutshell, Jill is borderline crazy – which, by all intents and purposes – raises the stakes early in the film’s opening act.
Unfortunately, Gone’s plot is as thin as the paper it’s written on, held together by nothing more than a series of stop-and-go’s leading to the films inevitable conclusion. However, Allison Burnett’s script and Heitor Dhalia’s direction manages to anchor itself on something more interesting: Jill’s deteriorating mental state.
There is a tense and small quietness to Gone. The scenes play out with a leveled amount of tension, restrained by Dhalia’s attempt to keep the film from spiraling into utter ridiculousness. The story does manage to keep you on your toes about Molly’s true fate and plot flows quickly (albeit unevenly), but is marred by various unnecessary plot devices that offer nothing than a few more minutes of screen time.
The film also suffers from an alarming lack of edge of your seat moments. For the faint of heart, Gone presents itself as a good kiddie pool entrant to the genre. But for thriller junkies, there are much harder films on file. Still, Gone is an entertaining treat simply for the film’s feisty protagonist.
Amanda Seyfried’s portrayal of Jill is nothing short of astounding; and clearly the most impressive aspect of the film. Seyfried successfully walks that fine line between psychotic and passionate, determined and delusional; and though her need to save her sister is undoubtedly genuine, it is just as easy to believe that she is also textbook bonkers.
Jill is literally a one woman army out to find her sister, and in that respect, we find ourselves trapped with Amanda Seyfried for a good hour and a half.
With any lesser actress, the film would fall gracelessly under on top of such thin stilts, , but Seyfried carries the film with such natural skill that it’s hard not to be captivated by her slow descent into madness.
Seyfried literally saves the film from breaching B-movie territory, which is an easy trap to fall into when you’re going between sleuth-like sensibility and batshit crazy. Seyfried won’t be winning any awards for Gone, but her latest work is definitely a testament to her career defining thesis: I am not just another dumb blonde.
As a whole, Gone doesn’t make any delusions as to what it truly is – an entertaining psychological thriller. It just barely drags itself above the threshold of mediocrity though, and despite genuine moments of tension in the film, none are truly memorable by any stretch of the imagination.
Burnett and Dhalia do give the film an entertaining twist right from the start, but it would’ve been interesting to have seen the film push a bit harder on that front.
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PARA SA TAMAD MAGBASA:
A great example of how a good actress can carry an ‘okay’ film.