Seyfriend Shows Some Acting Prowess In Thrilling 'Gone'
Published: Saturday, February 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
Amanda Seyfried just can't get a hit. Following last year's moderate misses Red Riding Hood and In Time, Seyfried is clearly struggling to become a huge box office star. Unfortunately, Gone doesn't appear to be turning her box office fortunes around. It's a baffling conundrum, because all three of the aforementioned movies are actually compelling thrillers. While obviously not Oscar contenders, they are entertaining. The problem with Gone, though, is that it doesn't dare do something different—rather, it's a standard generic thriller, though a well executed one.
In Gone, Seyfried stars as Jill Conway, a woman suffering from extreme anxiety after being abducted and thrown down a hole somewhere in one of Oregon's forests. Jill somehow manages to escape and find safety, but the police don't believe her story. After the cops close the case, Jill is placed into a mental institution for six months before moving into a home with her sister, Molly (Emily Wickersham).
Now, Jill has seemingly returned to a normal way of life, working as a waitress while remaining protective of both her sister and herself. In between shifts at the local diner, Jill practices martial arts and hikes in the forests, looking for the hole where she nearly died. Upon returning home one morning after work, Jill is surprised to find her sister missing. Convinced that the same man who took her took Molly, Jill alerts the police. The trouble is, the cops still do not believe her and still think she's crazy.
Frustrated that the police refuse to help, Jill is determined to find Molly before she is killed. She follows the path of clues to find the killer, with the aid of her wait staff friend (Jennifer Carpenter of Dexter fame) and Molly's boyfriend (Captain America vet Sebastian Stan). Throughout the search, there are also flashbacks to Jill's own abduction. The viewer becomes aware of the horror that Jill went through, but the flashbacks leave the viewer wondering whether or not they are real. Her battle soon becomes about her proving her sanity, just as much as it is about her finding Molly.
The plot continues to twist and turn, building suspense until it comes to a completely lackluster finish. Compared to the rest of the film, the finale is rushed and not given nearly enough time to commit to a satisfying ending. Despite its flawed finish, Gone still manages to entertain and keep the viewer guessing at every turn.
The generally generic thriller relies solely on the strength of its lead actress, Seyfried, who, in almost every single shot of the film, does an excellent job of making the viewer care about Jill. Gone's director, Heitor Dhalia, is smart to capture Seyfried's mesmerizing blues eyes in many of the shots, because they're very telling of the paranoia haunting Jill as she searches for her sister. The rest of the casts' varied acting performances hardly matter, because it becomes easy to tell early on that this film rests squarely on Seyfried's shoulders.
About a third of the film takes places in Oregon's forests. The cinematographer does an excellent job of capturing the abandonment and beauty of these forests. The views of the forest are almost reminiscent of a Twilight film, but luckily there are no vampires to be found. Gone also has an extremely subtle score that is quite successful in ramping up the suspense in the film, but again, nothing in the film really compares to Seyfried's performance. Over the past year, Seyfried has proven herself an actress extremely capable of carrying films in the thriller and sci-fi realms. At this point, what she really needs to do is step into a bigger role. Ever since her film debut opposite Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls, Seyfried has failed to choose an interesting role. However, she has recently signed on to a few interesting projects, including director Tom Hoopers' (The King's Speech) big screen production of Les Miserables. It will be interesting to see how her career goes on from here. For now, audiences should take advantage of seeing her in Gone.