I wanted to start out with how after watching War Horse, I had many choices that night (a good movie or a movie I worked in) but instead I chose to see Gone, because I’m good at decisions for which I don’t have to pay. That I highly disliked Amanda Seyfried because she, sober, can only get roles that Lindsay Lohan would when she’s constantly intoxicated and that I miss Lohan and I’m glad that she’s back. That how Seyfried obtusely chooses movies so terrible that Kristen Stewart selling her soul seems dignified in comparison. Or how she talks, in interviews, the way an intoxicated person would when you’re sober. The movie itself isn’t bad, but it is a hot mess.
In Gone Seyfried’s character Jill starts out just on the edge of normalcy, suspicious walks to Portland’s Forest Park and all, until her sister Molly (Emily Wickersham) is nowhere to be found, not leaving a note nor without a change of outside clothes. She reports this incident as a missing persons case to the police like Det. Pete Hood (Wes Bentley) who hears this news while clouded by the knowledge that she’s also an ex-kidnap victim two years ago and believes that her abductor has been taking the other young women who are missing in Portland and is out to kill her because she was the one who got away. She has also been diagnosed and mentally institutionalized for a year before her sister has taken her home.
Her police report is a crucial scene, at first revealing the details of what her memory says what has happened between the last time she has seen Molly – which is before she left for her night shift at the diner (I guess that despite her mental state she has to take what she can get, or that this could have been her job when she was ‘normal’) – and the present. She talks meticulously, like a paranoiac who remembers every detail for when something bad happens to her or to her only family.
One of the movie’s contrivances is that the police is hell-bent on ignoring her at the price of her life and her sister’s. They show their doubts, revealing other cases when ‘responsible’ women become ‘wild,’ and that’s when Seyfried stops sustaining her arc and starts yelling uncontrollably at them. Maybe she needed a better director to guide her to when she’s supposed to be belligerent or calm. But whatever she does for the rest of the movie – lying to her neighbors or ‘interview subjects,’ pretending to a couple of twelve-year olds that she can get them backstage passes to a Justin Bieber concert, toting a gun and finding Molly and the killer herself – will be marred by how she behaves during her worst. It’s too early for her ‘crazy’ scene either way, which is also the fault of the structure of the screenplay.
But the script, between car chases, isn’t that bad, portraying the vernacular of these characters in their private lives. Molly tells Jill that they should get fat together. A police officer tells his female partner that ‘when a man hits a woman a second time, she’s an accomplice.’ A skateboarder tells Jill that his girlfriend thinks that another man – sorry if you had to follow all of that – has ‘rape-y’ eyes. We hear the way women talk to each other, men talk to women about other women and women telling what they really think of men. It’s the whispered prejudices pasted into two hours or less of a movie, along with its leading actress who tries her best and the Craigslist-like meeting she dives into in the end, that are this movie’s saving graces. 2.5/5