‘Gone’ Review

Published 3 years ago by , Updated November 27th, 2014 at 3:28 pm,

Gone 2012 starring Amanda Seyfried Review Gone Review

Gone is a movie that should’ve been released in the straight-to-DVD market where it belongs.

Amanda Seyfried stars in Gone as Jill, a troubled young girl who is the supposed survivor of a twisted abduction and murder attempt by a serial killer no one believes exists. Due to her extreme ordeal, Jill lives as a rattled and suspicious pill-popping loner, whose only friend is her recovering alcoholic sister, Molly (Emily Wickersham). One night after Jill is working a night shift as a waitress at the local diner, she comes home to find Molly gone, though the house is seemingly undisturbed but for a few small details, like a missing photo and discarded earring.

The police who investigated Jill’s alleged abduction could never find evidence to back her story, so they have even less reason to believe that Molly has been taken by the same figment killer, who would be ostensibly risking exposure just to finish off the one escaped girl. The detectives tell Jill to back off and settle down, but she does just the opposite (surprise) and goes on the hunt herself. Before long, she’s searching the streets of Portland wild-eyed and waving a gun, inviting both a police manhunt to bring her in, and the widespread view that she is a mental case.

But if Jill is right, and there is a predator in their midst, then she may be all that stands between Molly and a brutal, gruesome death.

Gone is an attempt to make a modern B-movie thriller in the style of classic Film Noir, by filmmakers who don’t quite have the insight or judgement to pull off such a feat. The script was written by Allison Burnett, who penned other half-cooked mystery/thrillers like Untraceable and Underworld Awakening. Burnett’s Noir narrative is full of  heavy-handed contrivances and awkwardly composed scenes, stilted dialogue and cheap red herrings. One could almost make a drinking game out of the amount of times this film will have you rolling your eyes at what has just happened or been said onscreen.

Amanda Seyfried in Gone 2012 Gone Review

Amanda Seyfried in ‘Gone’

Director Heitor Dhalia (Adrift) makes matters worse by trying to infuse things with a classic Noir style he is far from proficient in. If you are well-versed in the Film Noir sub-genre you’ll find many of the familiar tropes present and accounted for: the addled sleuth (Seyfried); the sharp camera angles and interplay of light and shadow to create a menacing world around the protagonist; odd-looking actors playing the working-class types the sleuth runs across, shot at sloped angles to make them look more suspicious or sinister. Taken altogether, the director tries to create a sense that this world is gritty, dark, and full of immoral types at every turn.

What Gone manages to prove is that classic Noir style looks silly when presented straightforwardly in a modern context. Homages to classic cinema need to be winking and self-referencing, allowing the audience in on the fact that the oddball stylistic choices are in fact a purposeful reference. Seeing it represented in this kind of way just comes off as a failed experiment. The resolution of the mystery is unsatisfying and full of so many logical gaps that it is hard to say whether it holds together at all. The character arc for Jill goes to pieces towards the end, when the movie tries one final pivot between the questions of  ‘Is she crazy, is she not crazy?’ only to fizzle out into a bizarre and unceremonious ending.

Besides those massive disappointments, one of the more vexing things about Gone is its fumbling of red herrings that add nothing to the story except cheap (and totally irrelevant) distractions. As this Noir tale follows a female sleuth, there are no traditional femme fatale characters, and instead American Beauty star Wes Bentley and Captain America star Sebastian Stan play two potential “homme fatale” types (a rookie cop and Molly’s boyfriend, respectively) whose arcs ultimately go nowhere at all, making them completely arbitrary additions to film.

Wes Bentley in Gone 2012 Gone Review

Wes Bentley in ‘Gone’

Another reviewer in my screening was thoroughly vexed and perplexed by one particularly flagrant empty red herring (Mild Spoiler): In the middle of the film, one of our “homme fatales” disappears in order to supposedly ‘bring soup to his sick mother’ – a blatant and obvious excuse to create suspicion about his whereabouts and actions, one would naturally assume. Only, in a movie like Gone, that red herring is ultimately discarded (after a lot of screen time) as the character reappears in the background of a later shot (no explanation, just standing there), and we are only left to assume that he actually did disappear to bring soup to his sick mother. A moment like that would be hilarious in a parody film, but is funny for all the wrong reasons when presented seriously.

For her part, Amanda Seyfried does a fine job playing the difficult role of a girl who is either crazy and or legitimately panicked, while still being sharp enough to connect clues, deduce facts, outwit pursuers, and solve a crime an entire police force could not. The role itself is ridiculous, but Seyfried has talent enough to keep it grounded. Here’s hoping she lands better projects going forward.

In the end, Gone is a movie that should’ve been released in the straight-to-DVD market where it belongs. As a rental, I would probably give it two stars; but as a movie you’re  being asked to pay theater prices to watch? Well, see our rating below.

Gone is now playing in theaters. It is Rated PG-13 for violence and terror, some sexual material, brief language and drug references.


Our Rating:

1.5 out of 5
(Poor, A Few Good Parts)

TAGS: Gone
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  1. Not surprising. When I saw the first trailer, the movie was put on my “Do not see” list.

    • Well, Call Me Crazy But When I Saw A Trailier It Looked Really Good In My Opinion I Am Going To Watch It Tonight. And Give It A Chance

  2. Amanda Seyfried was enough for me to pass on this movie.

    • +1

  3. Wow, I can’t believe how everyone is savaging this film!
    I saw it last night and thought it was fine. Amanda Seyfried, as well as all the other actors, do a good job. It was fairly suspensful. And the few scenes that push your suspension of belief don’t go too overboard. It didn’t seem that Film Noirish to me from the trailers, so I wasn’t comparing my impressions to that style. The movie is different from what is out there right now and I enjoyed it.

    • I Am Confused… Some Poeple Say It Sucked Others Say It Was Good….

  4. I have no intentions of seeing this flick, but did have kind of a strange thing happen to me re its trailer. I am not at all familiar with Amanda Seyfried, so when I first saw this film advertised, I thought she was a grown up Dakota Fanning. “Oh, look,” I thought to myself, “there is Dakota Fanning. Boy, she’s changed a lot!” Imagine my chagrin when I found out, after assuming for weeks this was supposed to be Dakota Fanning’s attempt to break out of the her cute little girl roles, that the actress was someone else altogether. I generally am on top of movie trivia. Suppose I needed to be humbled a bit. :o)

  5. From the moment I saw the trailer I thought this looked like a film that should be on Chill or SyFy as a movie of the week.
    And judging by the reviews I’ve read it seems like I was right. To be perfectly honest I will admit that I will watch this film. Not in the theater but once it hits Blu-ray or Amazon I’ll check it out. I can’t explain why but whenever I read or hear about a really bad thriller or even horror film I’m drawn to them. Usually to laugh at or make fun of while watching with someone else. That makes it entertaining.

    • “whenever I read or hear about a really bad thriller or even horror film I’m drawn to them.”

      Masochist? :)

      • Haha!
        I wouldn’t go that far but there is something about watching a complete train wreck of a film that’s entertaining.

        • Agreed. Every Halloween me and some buddies would rent three of the “WORST” horror movies we could find and watch them. It was a blast. A few actually surprised us and were fairly scary. Man the people that made movies in the 1970′s were some of, if not THE most messed up, acid-tripping, heroine shooting crazies ever. :)

          • Your not kidding. I have a cousin who lives in LA so he’s always able to find old 60′s/70′s I’d say d-level horror films. So every time he comes home we will break out the VCR and be amazed at what some people actually paid to produce. Some stuff makes the SyFy Network movies look like big studio blockbusters.

  6. I have seen Amanda Seyfried in a good suspense movie and doing this movie actually is worth watching Although it may not be as great as expected but I’ll give credit to a great acting.

  7. I have no desire in seeing any of the last 9 movies in the reviewed list, and based on your thoughts I’d say I’m better off. Journey 2 received the highest rating, which doesn’t inspire much confidence. Either your critiques are harsh, or the quality of movies lately have been extraordinarily awful. My guess is it’s the latter.

  8. I would like to see this movie. i am paying more attention to the positive comments than the negative.

  9. I have a problem with the entire blogging community in general essentially determining a movie is either really good, or lame. Nothing in between. The question this article asks at the top, is this movie worth seeing or a “B” movie? As if a B movie shouldn’t be seen.

  10. So much potential. Was really good until the end, massive anti-climax!!!

  11. I would have to say that this movie was really good! Myself and my dad enjoyed it very much. Asking ourselves who the killer. Kept me at the edge of my seat nearly the whole time! GREAT MOVIE

  12. Just watched this movie and I thought it was very suspenseful and a good movie until the end. The ending was just too short and to easy for Jill. I hate depressing endings but i have to admit if she would’ve been killed at the end it would’ve made the ending a lot better and then they could’ve pinned everything on the cops for not doing their job and for not believing her. Also I agree with a previous comment that the rookie cop had no point on having a part in the movie if he didn’t have anything to do with the killer or the kidnappings. Please comment on my post!

  13. I don’t get the very last scene help….