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Monday, June 11, 2012


Just as well I'm not a respected critic because if I was, this here review would totally sink my reputation. Though, of course, after liking Men In Black III that ship may well have already sailed...

There really is no reason to like Gone. It is silly, under-written and has the feel of a bottom-shelf D-movie that makes very little use of its charismatic star or its Winter's-Bone-like setting. And yet, for all of that, I kind of had a blast watching it.

First, and there's just no getting past this, I really like Amanda Seyfried. Here she plays a troubled young woman who insists that she was kidnapped by a man intent on murdering her but, in one of the film's many departures from logic and believably, no one believes her so when her sister goes missing in similarly sinister circumstances, it's up to her to find and stop her unknown assailant from doing to her sister what he failed to do to her. In effect, she is playing a role that bears more than a slight resemblance to her lead role in the rather underrated Jennifer's Body. The whole plot is clearly complete hogwash but her commitment to the material and likable screen presence means that even if you don't go with the film, you can can certainly enjoy its shameless trashiness.

More than Seyfried though, the reason that this film worked for me is precisely the thing that so frustrated seemingly every other person who has seen it. Gone is a twisty thriller that stubbornly refuses to ever twist.      It constantly threatens to pull the rug from beneath you but instead leaves you all the more befuddled for its complete refusal to befuddle. It's a film that spends every second of its running time promising some big reveal about what's really going on, only to have the revelation be that what is going on is EXACTLY what it seems to be.

I know nothing about the production of the film or what its director and screenwriter had in mind for it but the film is so unambitious, so resolutely unwilling to fulfill the audience's expectations of unexpectedness that I can only imagine that its seeming "laziness" and "worthlessness" must be intentional. It's either that or it really is as hopelessly inept as it appears on the surface. The filmmakers are either sly geniuses or the laziest of lazy hacks. There really is no middle ground here. Call me a naive optimist but I like to think that they're closer to the former, standing right there with us, laughing sardonically at a film that, like the most petulant of spoiled brats, simply refuses to play by the rules.

And no, I really don't care that I seem to be the only person on earth who thinks this.


  1. Interesting take. I liked Men in Black 3 as well and it looks like the majority of us also did. Thankfully as human beings we are afforded the luxury of taste and I can respect that you saw something in this film that I didn't, something that gave you the opportunity to enjoy it. My criticism is that it was just mediocre and sadly I enjoy mediocre films even less than bad ones.

    1. Thanks Joel. I am,to be fair, just being my usual self-deprecating self. I used to think that mediocre movies are worse than bad movies but considering the unspeakably horrible crap we've had to endure, I'm beginning to rethink that theory. Though, they certainly are harder to review, I don't see that changing anytime soon. I would agree that Gone is mediocre, except that it so steadfastly revels in its mediocrity that it becomes kind of amusing for it. Though,it has to be said, after looking through the filmographies of the film's writer, I'm pretty sure it's amusing and interesting completely unintentionally.