Now here’s a new idea from Hollywood. A straight up thriller with no plot twists and a reasonably realistic story. This is one of the better thrillers that I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s easy to follow but still throws in enough shady characters to leave you guessing. The action that does take place makes perfect sense and doesn’t turn into a giant battle that a normal person couldn’t possibly do. The ending even lets the characters send a big middle finger to everyone who wouldn’t listen to them. Very satisfying, exciting, and interesting.
The plot is pretty simple. Jill (Amanda Seyfried) had been kidnapped but never got a good look at the man before she escaped. Nobody believed her and she wound up in a mental hospital until her sister got her released, promising they would live together. Now the kidnapper has come back and taken Jill’s sister, but the police won’t believe her still so it’s up to Jill to stop him once and for all.
What’s so great is that the film has plenty of opportunities to throw in some crazy twists, but doesn’t, even if they might have worked out. The odd thing is that I’m so used to something crazy happening, that I was kind of surprised when it didn’t. Forget all about twists and you’ll enjoy this one even more. It’s too easy to get distracted when your mind is figuring out what kind of insane ending will show up. Amanda Seyfried does a great job as the hero of the story without becoming a superhero. She doesn’t dive off a roof while doing a spin kick and firing guns off with her toes. Her ability to elude the police does tend to stretch reality a little bit, but movie cops aren’t really the brightest characters around anyway, so it’s not such a stretch when it comes to film.
The movie isn’t lacking in creepy characters either. Wes Bentley shows up as a cop who will probably have most viewers screaming ‘he’s the one’ the moment that he steps onscreen. Joel David Moore also has a turn as creepy guy number two. Come to think of it, just about every male character in the film could be a suspect. That gives the viewer plenty of choices when it comes to who the kidnapper could be, although it may be obvious if you think about it enough. It seems like the film builds tension not so much through what’s happening, but by the viewers idea of what a film like this should be. By taking an opposite path to what we’ve all come to expect in a Hollywood film, it’s not only surprising but exciting as well. It reminds me of a jump scare in a horror film. We know it’s coming and that makes it worse, when it doesn’t happen, that can be more frightening than the actual scare. Our expectations of what will happen in Gone creates more than enough tension for the film.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this film is going to blow your mind. It’s still a straight up action thriller, but it’s very solid. It’s paced extremely well and may have even benefited from slowing down a little bit to explore some of the story. It would have been nice to see some more of Jill’s back story regarding her kidnapping and the way it was handled. That would have given us a better look at the police and some of their motivations in the film. In the end, it’s a tight 95 minute flick delivering a good story and a great performance from Amanda Seyfried, who basically carries the entire film. The ending is very satisfying in its smugness, and is the perfect finish to a well put together film.
Under the marquee – Will