It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment at which I realized how much I despised “Gone.” But if I had to guess, it was probably with the introduction of the harebrained detective team. Unfortunately, that was merely the tip of a very cruddy iceberg.
Jill (Amanda Seyfried) is a troubled young woman with a tumultuous past. With the passing of her parents and having seemingly survived a recent abduction, she has been left rattled and paranoid. Upon initially going to the police, no evidence is found to support her claims of abduction, landing Jill in a psych ward. Now, her sister Molly has been abducted in a similar fashion, forcing Jill to relive her past and track down her abductor. The police department, skeptical of Jill’s story, is hot on her heels as she takes matters into her own hands.
“Gone” is your stereotypical run-of-the-mill thriller that just fails to deviate from the conventional norm. In a genre rife with terrible cliches, this movie manages to utilize every one in the book. The inability of the Portland Police Department to successfully apprehend a fugitive who’s leaving more clues behind than Carmen Sandiego is certainly hard to sit through. Then there’s the matter of the constant flashback sequences which neither foreshadows nor progresses the plot along. The seemingly endless parade of red herrings throughout the film is also exhausting. Barring all that, the film even has the audacity of pulling the tired old cat-jumping-out-of-the-dark-closet gag.
Yet given all that, nothing could properly prepare me for the ending — so haphazardly thrown together I was in fact anticipating an additional fade-in, but I instead sat there in disbelief as the credits rolled. The “M. Night” complex that has seemingly ruined modern-day thrillers dictates that a twist ending can sweep all other cinematic concerns under the proverbial rug, just so long as you keep the audience guessing. In the case of “Gone” though, nearly the entire film is painfully predictable, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise when a gag ending is tacked on.
Saucer-eyed, fair-skinned Amanda Seyfried has made a career out of being the girl next door, yet she’s somehow miscast in the role of Jill. Her good-natured charm doesn’t lend itself well to the hardened character she portrays. Her roles in “Mean Girls” and “Dear John” were just too much for me to overcome, as I found her performance to be just like every other aspect of the film: utterly boring. However, nobody walks away from “Gone” a winner, including the audience.