Movie Review: Logic Missing, Presumed Dead

Amanda Seyfried hunts for the deranged Cinemax executive who holds her career hostage in the inexplicable Gone.


A year ago, Jill (Amanda Seyfried) was kidnapped by a serial killer and thrown into a hole in the woods. She managed to escape, although the suspect was never found. After a late shift at the diner, Jill comes home to find that her sister Molly (Emily Wickersham) has vanished. Jill is convinced that the same man who kidnapped her is responsible, but the police refuse to help her. They are convinced that Jill made up the story about her abduction, and her history of mental instability doesn’t help the situation. With no other options, Jill decides she has to find her sister on her own…assuming she isn’t actually as crazy as the police believe.

Remember, always ask your doctor before stopping medication.

We want to like Amanda Seyfried. In fact, we do like Amanda Seyfried. She’s a very likable actress, and she won major goodwill from Mean Girls. However, she doesn’t make it easy to do by agreeing to star in forgettable flotsam like Gone. Brazilian director Heitor Dhalia makes his English-language debut off of a screenplay by alleged writer Allison Burnett, the scribe behind the words of Underworld: Awakening and Untraceable. Like those films, Gone thrives on a steady diet of the illogical and implausible. It’s a slight, shaky would-be thriller that even the best actress would be hard-pressed to hold together.

Gone is a suspense film with no mystery, an action film with no momentum and a Skinemax film that’s all tease and no follow-through. The first post-credit sequence features a gratuitous, body-doubled, yet PG-13-rated shower sequence, and the film never really recovers. It’s pure titillation, and if the film had grabbed that campy brass ring and run with it, it might be forgiven its false tension and surface-deep characterization. However, the film never rises above its deadly serious tone, even as the plot threads unravel at an alarming rate. The film defies any attempt to categorize it as anything besides Lifetime After Dark.

Nobody will be admitted during the thrilling “giving directions over the phone” scene.

Gone is the kind of disposable film that Angelina Jolie would have made 10 years ago, a fact brought home by Amanda Seyfried’s passing resemblance to the world’s most well-known foster mother. Unfortunately, as charming as Ms. Seyfried is, she’s no Angelina Jolie. Seyfried tries desperately to sustain the film, but no matter how hard she tries, she can’t rescue the film from its shopworn dialogue or boilerplate direction. She’s as good as she can be, and it’s only her performance that makes the film watchable and saves it from the swift direct-to-DVD fate that it probably deserves.

Amanda attempts to assign blame for the film.

The main problem Seyfried runs into, however, is Jill herself. The script seems to go out of its way to make Jill unlikable, making Seyfried’s job all the harder. The true conflict in the film isn’t Jill vs. the kidnapper, but Jill vs. herself. There is more evidence to indicate that Jill actually is as crazy as the general populace of the film believes than there is to indicate that she’s telling the truth. Jill herself doesn’t make things any easier. She thinks nothing of telling outright lies to people to get information, pulls a gun at the slightest provocation and generally behaves like a raving, paranoid basket case whenever her story is questioned. She has all the hallmarks of narcissistic personality disorder, as well. Jill is positioned as some kind of young feminist avenger, the kidnapped maiden who fights back, but she’s more like a crazy person with free reign of Portland, Oregon. She commits a seemingly endless string of felonies to prove her point—like breaking and entering and grand theft auto—and it’s difficult not to side with the police, even though they’re almost to a person all huge jerkwads.

Amanda Seyfried IS Angelina Jolie AS Tori Spelling IN Mother, May I Shoot Him in the Face?

The unwieldy supporting cast is almost as forgettable as the film itself, mostly comprised of actors with plenty of small screen experience but little big screen exposure. Most of the cast either tries too hard or barely tries at all. In an ensemble that features Wes Bentley and Michael Pare, it’s telling that the most memorable of the supporting cast is Sam Upton as Hunky Square-Jawed Cop Model 24B. It’s a headshot buffet straight from Central Casting to your movie screen.

A pile of red herrings topped with the very definition of anti-climax, there’s really no reason for Gone to exist beyond giving Amanda Seyfried a chance to show what she can do. However, she deserves better material, and she needs to severely reprimand the people who keep unearthing the scripts she’s handed. It’s a nonsensical mix of women-in-peril films with girl-power feminism that seems to confuse conviction with sociopathy. Despite Amanda’s valiant effort, there’s no strong lead character to grab onto and no compelling plot to make up for it. Gone evaporates almost instantly upon the application of logic or application of feet toward the exit sign. Even Karen’s weather reports make more sense than this film.

Rating: 3 out of 10 / D

JOHNNY M is a frequent FBOTU contributor. Or is he? <a href="; title="imageimage