It’s Not Shit: Gone
Like, “having watched Red Riding Hood” expectations.
Turns out I’m a douchebag who’s too quick to write off actresses who appear in movies directed by Catherine Hardwicke.
Except K-Stew. Unforgivable.
TL;DR This is a fast, to the point thriller. Seyfried is utterly watchable as a girl who is pragmatic, strong, and determined. 4 out of 5 stars.
What the fuck? You might say.
Gone knows exactly what it wants to be and what it needs to do to get there. There is no more important quality for a film than for it to be honest with itself. Gone isn’t trying to be anything more than a serviceable kidnap thriller. And it delivers.
What elevates this from a merely decent genre piece, though, is a fantastic lead performance from Amanda Seyfried.
I’ve had a non-sexual (and occasionally sexual. Not really. But really. But not) crush on her since Mean Girls. And she was also in my favourite TV series during my idealistic, rebellious years: Veronica Mars. Needless to say, I was disappointed when she wasted her time on fucking Big Love. Then Dear John.
Didn’t really mind Letters to Juliet.
Then I had to suffer through goddamn Red Riding Hood. Honestly, that “what big eyes you have” scene has got to be the most cringe-worthy moment I’ve ever witnessed on screen.
But even in that piece of shit, Seyfried was still a bit alright.
I’m glad I kept with her, because it lead me to Gone.
Basic plot follows Jill (Seyfried), a girl who had been kidnapped (maybe) a year earlier, and now believes the kidnapper has struck again by taking her sister (maybe). She finds resistance and suspicious characters everywhere she turns, so she takes matters into her own hands to save her sister’s life before it’s too late.
And this bitch is fucking determined. And although my perception of reality is warped by the ungodly amount of movies I watch, nothing she does ever feels too contrived or too “action movie”. By “action movie” I mean “ridiculous bullshit that nobody could survive and everything happens through retarded chance”. Sure, Jill does get a few lucky breaks (like when she presents a vague description of a car to some random guy, who then conveniently tells her the name and address of the man she’s after), but most of her progress is a result of her practicality and astonishing ability to lie.
The plot keeps things interesting with an endless roulette of red herrings. From her sister’s shady boyfriend, to all of the detectives on the case, even her neighbours get just that extra second of lingering camera. I was kept guessing the whole time.
If I had to have a grievance with Gone (and I do. Have you read the name of the blog?), it’s that it’s shallow. The story has no scope, and none of the characters get any relevant development. The story is too centred on Jill, who to be fair, does get to prove herself. But nobody really grows or reveals anything about themselves. Such is genre, I suppose.
Why I DON’T hate this movie:
Jill is entirely magnetic. Something about those big, wet eyes, widened even further with steadfast determination. I wouldn’t want to get between Jill and her mission.
There is a decent spread of non-nobodies filling out the supporting cast. Jennifer Carpenter is her work friend. Sebastian Stan (aka Carter “extreme bag of dicks” Baizen from Gossip Girl) is the sister’s boyfriend. That hot guy from One for the Money is a detective (not the guy from Terra Nova. The other guy). And Wes “I was in The Hunger Games even though my character was unimportant, goddamn I miss 1999” Bentley is another cop.
The red herrings get sorted out pretty satisfyingly.
Did I mention Jill is a total badass? And she doesn’t let the killer (oh, spoiler alert, Jill’s not crazy. She totally got kidnapped) get away either. None of that “knock him over then try to run” shit. Finally, a final girl who undertands she needs to finish him.
Oh, and Hunter Parrish gets a cameo as a shirtless, just-had-gay-sex rocker. There’s no part of that I don’t want.
Reasons to hate:
Some things do come a bit too easily to Jill.
The killer is far too obliging with giving her access to his camp, which has evidence, which she does send to the police at the end to vindicate herself. Dumbass.
And his plan to trap her was pretty retarded, considering she had escaped previously. And that time she was exhausted, emotionally crippled and malnourished. This time he went against a full force Jill (who is pretty boss) with exactly the same tactic of “I’m a man.” It goes about as well as you’d expect.
There’s a scene where Jill has to blend in, so she starts talking to two teenage girls. Even though she looks and sounds like a raving crackhead, the girls put up with her warily. However, they pretty much lose their shit when she tells them she can get them VIP Bieber tickets. I know kids these days are terrible people, but is anyone really that gullible?
Jill gets a vague clue about a van, so she fucking Google image searches it and gets exactly what she wants instantly. Pretty unrealistic.
Carter Baizen? Ew. Seriously, he’s ugly.
When Jill goes to work she parks obscenely far away. Remember, we are explicitly shown during the scenes walking to and from the car that she is terrified of being kidnapped again. Then we are shown that Jennifer Carpenter’s character parks out the front of the store. Why doesn’t Jill park there too? Duh.
And she answers her phone at work. Rude.
This is focused, driven, and mostly intelligent genre filmmaking. Bonus points for having a cast with semi-recognisable actors. Oh, and Jill wins with no casualties, AND gets away with killing the killer. It’s nice for a change. It’s not shit. 4 out of 5 stars.