February 24, 2012
Amanda Seyfried as Jill
Jennifer Carpenter as Sharon Ames
Daniel Sunjata as Sergeant Powers
Jill (Amanda Seyfried) was found half frozen in the woods outside Portland by a hiker. She claimed to have been kidnapped by a serial killer and dumped into a hole where other young women were killed. Unfortunately for Jill, she has a history of questionable sanity. Years earlier after her parents died she spent a few months in the psych ward. Hence, after a weeklong search of the forest without result, investigators questioned the veracity of her claim. Ultimately, a judge ordered her recommitted to the psych ward before being released into the custody of her older sister.
A year later, Jill is on regular medication, attends self-defense classes and relentlessly combs the woods for the hole she woke up in that fateful evening. After a night at work she arrives home to find her sister missing. Jill assumes her abductor has returned to finish the job, but took her sister instead when he found Jill absent. Finding the police unsympathetic to her theory, Jill sets out to track him down and after questioning some people at gun point finds herself attempting to elude the entire Portland PD.
Gone is a well-crafted suspense film told almost exclusively from Jill’s perspective. Although lacking in anything that could qualify it as horror (gore, scares, creepy theme…), it isn’t a bad choice for a thriller. Unlike many mediocre suspense films, the story has no implausible twists that only serve to get characters out of tight spots. If you know someone, hypersensitive to plot holes or poorly thought out fixes and don’t want your ear filled with how unrealistic the action of a film is, this will be a good one to take them to see. You are guaranteed to be entertained and your friend will be happy to find the characters relentlessly true to form and the tension to be rooted in a believable storyline.
As the story IS Jill’s experience, the viewer yearns to trust her. She is very sympathetic and earnest in her conviction. Yet tidbits of evidence, carefully placed throughout the film, set off little alarm bells that leave the audience questioning whether or not she is delusional and if so – what those delusions have made her capable of. The climax will not disappoint.
This film hinges on Amanda Seyfried’s ability (as Jill) to sell the tension and the audience buys it all. As many men are aware, she does not disappoint in appearance, yet her talent as an actor is equally impressive in Gone. Granted this isn’t a film likely to earn academy award nominations, but she portrays the frenetic and at times frantic nature of Jill’s character with near flawless precision – even crying on command. For those who insist on seeing her as a sexual icon (who can blame you), unfortunately, you will be disappointed by the lack of sexual situations. However, a shower scene provides a nice PG-13 silhouette of her naked figure.
Bottom line: Gone is worth the price of a ticket. Also, if you are attempting to slowly expose someone to the horror genre, this one may be a good bridge to the beginner psychological/slasher shelf.