Amanda Seyfried throws in the towel: “Gone”

March 27, 2012

So, there’s this moment in the new, um, “thriller” (yeah, I have to put it in quotes) Gone when it’s clear that Amanda Seyfried has given up, and just mentally cashes the paycheck. It’s like she finally hit her breaking point and thought, “you know, I’ve been mouthing terrible dialogue, acting like an insane person, acting opposite what very may well be insane people, and now I just found out that the name of the bad guy who throws women in a pit in the woods is ‘Digger.’ Well, fuck it, if no one is taking this seriously, no reason I have to.” And then she goes off the rails for a couple of scenes, like an improvising SNL player at 12:45AM, when they know that no one is watching the show anymore. And that, dear reader, is the most fun to be had in this idiotic movie.

Gone has a nicely encapsulatable premise: Jill (Seyfried) comes home one night from work to find her sister Molly (Emily Wickersham) gone the day of a big final she was cramming for. Jill was abducted out of her bed  a few years back, and held in a pit in the Portland woods, but managed to escape. Now, she believes that the kidnapper came back and took Molly instead. Only problem is that the cops could never find any evidence to back up Jill’s story, and now she’s on a CVS-worth of meds and regularly pesters the cops with new leads on her possible abductor. Suffice it say that Jill isn’t the most reliable of narrators.

Okay, so we should be able to squeeze some suspense out of this, right? I mean, even if it’s “suspense” in the Lifetime Movie of the Week sense of the word–that is to say, you really have nothing better to do and you’re kind of curious to see whether the rapist turns out to be Harry Hamlin or Jack Scalia. The problem with Gone is that the movie is so effing crazy you can never quite believe what you’re watching. Or, for that matter, that you’re watching it. Or that people made it. And suddenly, Amanda’s late-game check-out makes perfect sense.

It’s kind of hard to relay how bizarre this whole flick is. I mean, it’s not totally, “am-I-seeing-this-or-did-I-have-a-stroke” maniacal as 88 Minutes (which I’m still not convinced wasn’t written by monkeys banging their wangs on a laptop keyboard), but it gets pretty close at times. Both films share the same ability to stage a perfectly normal, standard, thriller-movie scene and then execute in such a way that you have to wonder if the director has ever actually seen a movie.

I mean, first off, Portland, Oregon is basically presented as the most rape-tastic place in the continental US. Pretty much half of the people Jill meets look like they have to inform their neighbors when they move into a new neighborhood. Who was the casting director for this film, Chris Hansen? And where did they find these people? The supporting cast looks like they emptied out the first season of Millennium—you know, when everybody on that show was a skinny, pockmarked dude with unwashed hair? Yeah, that’s like 80% of the population of Portland, apparently.

But the lunacy of this movie can be summed up in one scene:  Jill learns a locksmith van was seen near her house the night of the disappearance, so she immediately follows the first locksmith van she sees in a high-speed chase, endangering many people (layer 1). So, um, I guess there’s just one locksmith in Portland? Whatever, she then goes to the office and pumps the locksmith for info about who may have used his van. Now, the inside of the locksmith’s business looks like the kill floor from any given Saw movie (because you wouldn’t need decent lighting to do fine metal-crafting work or anything like that—layer 2), and the dude she is talking to is such lanky freak of nature, I just assumed someone screwed up the reels and we were watching the installment of Marble Hornets where the Slender Man opens a tool and die shop (layer 3). So then the guy decides to check with his son, who seems to sleep in the shop (layer 4), and first tells the kid, “Meet our guest. Now answer her questions and don’t lie to me son, or I’ll send you back to live with your mother.” Oh yeah…the kid’s about 26. But what the fuck?!? Who talks this way? Ever? To anyone? This movie feels like it was written by aliens, who just took a stab at what humans sound like from trying to read our lips through their long-range telescopes (layer 4-7). See how the layers of insanity build up? It’s like a ziggurat of suck.

Additionally, we get the following:

* Jill offers her sister various prescription meds to help her study for her big exam. Something to tells me Jill isn’t the Rhodes Scholar of the family.

*After a neighbor tells her about the seeing the van, “You tell him I didn’t appreciate him honking the horn like that! I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since my wife died!” Thanks for the totally apropos of nothing info, there.

* More cloaking-device hoodies: Jill puts up her hood and a passing cop car mistakes her for a teenager.

* The cops are totally uninterested in her case because they once got a missing persons report where it turned out that the girl just shacked up with her boyfriend. Um, okay, but you realize that people do go missing sometimes, right? I mean, your town abuts hundreds of thousands of acres of wilderness, one or two of your missing persons  could have ended up as coyote chow.

* Speaking of cops, two patrol officers—a man and a woman—chase Jill at one point. She escapes and we never see those cops again, but the movie decides to establish their characters by giving us several random scenes of them just driving around and sharing their views on the world: “My wife’s sister would never tell my wife that we slept together…because if she knows if she does I won’t ever sleep with her again” and “The way I see it, a guy hits his wife once it’s his fault; guy hits his wife twice it’s her fault.” Wait, who the hell are these people, and why are they our retarded Greek chorus (about stuff that has nothing to do with the movie)?

* When Jill holds a guy at gunpoint, he snaps “You crazy bitch!” Yeah, that’s a good way to talk to the unbalanced woman pointing a gun at you. Hey, while you’re at it, why don’t you ask if she’s on the rag and maybe kick her dog? All good ways to keep from being shot in the face.

* BTW the bad guy is…no one we’ve met before. Truly, following the narrative of this movie yields no reward.

* Amanda…I hope you bought something pretty.

One comment

  1. I knew it ! I knew it since I first saw the movie’s poster. There was something about her expression that wasn’t right. She doesn’t look convincing I could just tell! This review confirms that I was right, Ha!

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