A tepid, silly thriller that would barely pass muster as basic cable fare, “Gone” stars Amanda Seyfried as Jill, an emotionally fragile waitress whose claim that she was abducted by a serial killer but escaped his grasp a year before was dismissed by the cops at the time. Now, after her return from a stay in a mental hospital, her sister Molly (Emily Wickersham) has disappeared, and when the cops refuse to believe Jill’s claim that her tormentor is responsible for the abduction, she grabs a gun and goes off to find the killer—and save Molly—herself.
Her search involves plenty of ludicrously lucky breaks, foot and car chases and split-second escapes—as well as lots of off-the-cut falsehoods (Jill’s a prolific liar, coming up with tall tales at a moment’s notice to overcome the doubts of whomever she’s talking to). And it all leads to a last reel so absurd and pathetically protracted that yawning and vainly peeking at your watch is almost obligatory. When the villain is finally unmasked (and his idiotic purpose revealed), your reaction will certainly be something like, “So what?”—especially since it makes the red herrings strewn about earlier absolutely arbitrary (and the guy’s competence in his chosen field very uncertain).
“Gone” is apparently intended as some sort of kiddie noir version of a feminist revenge fantasy, but it never takes hold, not merely because it’s so poorly plotted but because Seyfried is so bland. She fusses with her hair and runs a lot, but never convinces us that she’s the avenging fury she’s intended to be. It’s more a case of “I am woman, see me bore.”
The rest of the cast offers little compensation. Daniel Sunjata merely broods and shouts as an incredulous detective, while onetime handsome lead Wes Bentley is presumably here just because he can appear vaguely sinister as another cop and Michael Pare looks straitjacketed in a policeman’s suit and tie. Jennifer Carpenter and Sebastian Stan add nothing as Jill’s friend and Molly’s boyfriend, and Socratis Otto has a particularly ill-written cameo among others played by Nick Searcy, Joel David Moore, Ted Rooney and Blaine Palmer.
Director Heitor Dhalia, who along with editor John Axelrod brings meager tension to the proceedings, and cinematographer Michael Grady, whose images are generally murky, go out of their way to tell us repeatedly, through roadside signs and the easily identified squad cars, that the story is set in Portland. The city should really sue, since the movie makes its cops look like absolute dunderheads. But they’d probably be better off not bothering, since very few people are likely to waste their time on it. “Gone” should never have arrived.