Gone: A barrel of red herring and a heap of shady men

February 26, 2012

Grade: 75
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Daniel Sunjata, Jennifer Carpenter, Sebastian Stan, Wes Bentley, Nick Searcy, Socratis Otto, Joel David Moore
Diretor: Heitor Dhalia
Rating: PG-13 — “Rotten teeth and worse logic.”
Running time: 94 minutes

By Jeanette Catsoulis of the New York Times

Seriously depleting the skanky-villain bin at central casting, the moronic thriller Gone stars Amanda Seyfried as Jill, a troubled young waitress haunted by flashbacks of her abduction a year earlier. That experience left her with a psychiatric record and the police with the conviction that her assailant was fictional. So when Jill’s sister mysteriously disappears, behaving like a complete lunatic is probably not Jill’s best move.

Like the actresses Dianna Agron and Nina Dobrev, Seyfried belongs to a stable of blank-faced, saucer-eyed beauties whose limited appeal may conquer the small screen but so far has failed to tame the large. In almost every scene, she delivers a frantic, one-note performance that neither capitalizes on the character’s complicated medical history nor appears to be remotely connected to anyone else in the story.

As Jill barrels around Portland, Ore., Allison Burnett’s screenplay scatters decoys like dark treats: the sinister locksmith with the scuzzy son; the weird neighborhood widower; the slimy manager of a fleabag hotel. (Note to thriller writers: Blond men kill people too, you know.) Because all of these creeps share a similar aversion to shampoo, toothpaste and laundry detergent, the identity of the kidnapper is up for grabs — although personally I would be all over the shady gent described by one witness as having “rapey eyes.”

In the publicity notes, Burnett tells us that the idea for the film (directed by Heitor Dhalia) came from a producer unable to shake the mental image of a girl trapped in a hole in the ground. Yes, we’ve all seen The Silence of the Lambs too.

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