Combustible Celluloid
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With: Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Carpenter, Wes Bentley, Daniel Sunjata, Sebastian Stan, Nick Searcy, Socratis Otto, Emily Wickersham, Joel David Moore, Katherine Moennig, Michael Paré
Written by: Allison Burnett
Directed by: Heitor Dhalia
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and terror, some sexual material, brief language and drug references
Running Time: 94
Date: 02/21/2012

Gone (2012)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Missed Sister

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Gone is a most unusual thriller. It's not particularly focused on the identity of the killer, and though it does drop in a red herring, the actual reveal means nothing. Likewise, the heroine is rarely in physical danger. Rather, the main theme here is the "girl who cried wolf" story, in which the girl is tough, capable, and cunning.

Several months back, Jill (Amanda Seyfried) survived a kidnapping. She now lives with her sister in Portland, works as a waitress in an all-night café, and constantly looks over her shoulder. When she arrives home one morning, her sister is missing, and Jill becomes convinced that the kidnapper has returned. Unfortunately, given her history, and the fact that she was checked into a mental hospital for a while, the police do not believe her. But Jill knows that she has roughly one day to save her sister's life, so she does everything in her power, including avoiding the police and conning just about everyone in town, to pull that off. 

It's fun watching Seyfried bluffing and conning her way through scene after scene; no opponent can best her. Seyfried's amazing, oversized features help, and she plays the "crazy" card every so often, that she constantly ups the emotional ante. And, when we realize that the bad guy here is not necessarily the killer, but rather the cops, the movie begins to take shape. They are the ones that have labeled and cornered her, using underhanded tactics and slimy behavior. Her telephone conversation with the killer is the first honest, civil one she has in the movie. 

Overall, Gone is an odd but appealing combination of flat and subtle, sturdy and loony.
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