One year after Jill (Amanda Seyfried) was kidnapped by a serial killer her sister Molly (Emily Wickersham) disappears without a trace leaving the excitable young woman to believe the kidnapper has returned. The police (Daniel Sunjata, Jennifer Carpenter), who could find no physical evidence to back up Jill’s story of the first kidnapping once again believe the young woman with a history of mental illness is simply letting her imagination get away with her.
For Gone to work both stories need to be given equal weight, but despite Jill’s increasingly erratic behavior (which only grows because everyone refuses to help her) we know something has happened to her sister and Jill isn’t simply imagining the situation. The film follows the same movie logic of plenty of thrillers where dumb movie cops aren’t able to solve a crime for an entire year but one woman with no training is able to track the killer back to his lair in a single day. She also proves to have a remarkable ability to elude detection when an entire city’s police force is looking for her.
The script would also be stronger if not everyone besides the naive rookie (Wes Bentley, whose character is completely unnecessary) wasn’t so immediately dismissive of Jill’s case. You’d think an experienced cop, especially a female one (Carpenter), might be a better judge of the difference between crazy and the kind of post-traumatic stress Jill is still suffering after her abduction – especially, as we learn later, given the limited time (one week) spent searching for Jill’s kidnapper on thousands of acres of a national park.
The tension in the story works well and even if the final payoff and the epilogue are rather ridiculous given the amount of laws that have been broken over the course of the film, Seyfried does a good job in carrying the film even when the plot lets her down. Of course eventually Gone becomes almost laughably ridiculous as the final act goes off the rails for good.
As a throwaway thriller Gone was a little better than I expected. Although flawed, it’s certainly better than some of Seyfried’s other recent roles (In Time, Chloe, Jennifer’s Body). The DVD includes no extras or special features.
[Summit Entertainment, Blu-ray $30.49 / DVD $26.99]