“Gone” came and went quickly when it was released theatrically in February and while it’s not a bad film it probably was better suited to a direct-to-video release than to theaters. Jill Conway (Seyfried) is a young Portland woman who lives with her sister Molly(Wickersham). Jill is haunted by the events of one year prior when she was kidnapped and thrown down a hole in the wilderness that was a burial ground for a psychotic serial killer. Jill managed to escape her captor but when the police could find no evidence of her kidnapping, DNA, or the hole, the police do not believe her story. Jill is in fact placed in a psychiatric institution for a short period and the police believe it was all her mind.
Jill however continues to scour the region where she was held captive, searching grid-by-grid to locate the hole and annoys the local police, particularly Sgt. Powers (Sunjata) with constant phone calls regarding her case. When Jill returns home following her midnight shift at a local diner, she finds her sister missing. Jill immediately believes the killer came back for her to finish the job and found her sister instead. The police believe that Jill is simply overreacting and provide no assistance. Convinced that the killer really does exist, Jill begins her own investigation in a race to save her sister.
This is Brazilian Director Heitor Dhalia’s first English language film and he attempts to make a modern film-noir but doesn’t have the polish to pull it off with great success. He litters the film with one red herring after another, everyone from the creepy neighbor across the street, to Molly’s boyfriend, to even members of the police force. One attempt is so clumsy that he makes it seem as if this person is the obvious culprit, even explaining their disappearance half-way through the film with a ridiculous premise, only to have them popup at the end of the film in the background. It’s the most egregious examples of the many story arcs which are left hanging.
Dhalia makes the local police the primary antagonists. When Jill pulls a gun on suspect, she finds herself on the run. But no worries…this is about the dumbest bunch of cops seen on film since Police Academy. Jill outsmarts, outruns, and out drives them at every opportunity. The only real mystery after Dhalia falters with all the red herrings is whether or not there really is a killer or is it all just in Jill’s mind? Dhalia muffs this as well giving us and ending not filled with the requisite twist but rather one that’s completely deflated.
One thing that does work is Seyfried herself. She does a fine job of mixing resilience with obsessiveness enough to keep us guessing. She’s equal parts vulnerable and vengeful and let’s face it, those eyes could melt ice in the Arctic. She’s a person you can root for because she’s the only intelligent character in the film. Dhalia and screenwriter Allison Burnett simply do not put her in an advantageous position. She has no other lead cast member to play off of and has to shoulder the load. No easy task with a choppy script and weak direction. Gone is not a film that should ever have been in theaters but worth a rent if you can’t find anything better.