Sometimes the line between paranoia and justified fear is so thin we can’t even see it, as happens for the beautiful Amanda Seyfried in the 2012 movie Gone.
Indeed, the actress plays Jill Parrish, a girl who, a year before the story’s beginning, was kidnapped in the middle of the night, dragged into the forest, and thrown into a pit by an unknown maniac.
Although she luckily escaped, after all this time, Jill lives with the constant anxiety of what happened, unable to make new friends beyond Sharon, a colleague at the diner where she works, and her sister Molly.
Molly moved in with her not long before while studying at the university and preparing for an important entrance exam.
The adventure begins when Jill, returning home late at night after her usual waitress shift, discovers her sister has disappeared without a trace.
So she immediately turns to the police, fearing the maniac is back, and has accidentally kidnapped Molly, believing she was her, and is now holding her captive who knows where.
Unfortunately, the police have zero faith in her words; they still do not even believe that Jill was kidnapped a year earlier.
This is because no sign of violence was on her body, just as they never even found the hole where she was allegedly dumped, according to her statement.
Moreover, Jill had come out of a painful stint in a mental institution, distraught over the death of her parents. Hence, everyone thinks she simply made up the kidnapping, including Sergeant Powers and Detective Erica Lonsdale, who were on the case.
Completely alone and without any help, indeed hounded by the police who consider her dangerous, Jill must investigate on her own by scouring the places and people her sister frequented in Portland.
Realistic just enough
I don’t know Brazilian director Heitor Dhalia, yet with Gone, he puts forth a compelling crime drama in a simple 2012 movie.
There aren’t many characters and no improbable plot twists, so it’s easy to watch and manages to keep the suspense high from the first to the last minute; therefore, cinematically, it is an amazing entertainment.
Dhalia brings Allison Burnett‘s sound script to the screen, squeezing the story into a single long day where Amanda Seyfried is perpetually moving from place to place.
I read some people complaining about how silly it seemed the police didn’t believe her, but I found the situation explained clearly enough.
A year earlier, there was no physical evidence of kidnapping, she had no marks of violence, and she had a history in a mental institution.
Indeed, this makes the thriller twice as compelling since the poor Jill must find her sister while the police not only do not help but rather search everywhere to stop and arrest her.
This is because she waves a gun in the face of a man she wants to interrogate, so I would say it’s believable the police try to hold up a person they think is psychologically unstable by going around armed.
Indeed, compared to so many other movies with unlikely strong-willed women who beat harder than Rocky and handle guns better than John Wick, in this case, I would say we are instead in a much more realistic arena.
The atmosphere always has the proper charge of mystery, scene after scene constantly opening up different possibilities for plot evolution, inevitably leading to the cathartic climax between Jill and the mysterious maniac kidnapper.
As said, it’s all easy, exciting, and leaves no room for boredom, ever. Need more?
It was all in my head
Coming to the cast, we have Amanda Seyfried, just like the cover, who dominates as the absolute star and is present in virtually every scene.
Jill has an exciting mix of strength and fragility, sharp and intelligent but also emotionally unstable and constantly on edge, even before her sister’s kidnapping.
In this sense, perhaps a little wasted is actress Emily Wickersham; being the gone girl in Gone, we see very little of her except at the beginning.
Still, the relationship between these two sisters is excellent and convincing, they don’t necessarily always get along, and they are good and good to each other.
There are some action scenes where Seyfried handles without exaggerations and evades the police more by cunning than by physical strength or agility.
I’m glad to see her as a leading lady, albeit after significant roles, such as the visionary sci-fi In Time, along with Justin Timberlake, but I guess we still have to wait for her ultimate performance.
I can say the same for Jennifer Carpenter, her waitress friend, whom we have seen in so many movies (so far, my favorite with her is Brawl in Cell Block 99) or again in the long-running horror thriller series Dexter, as an irresistible, vulgar-speaking, unstoppable policewoman.
Turning to the police casting, there is little to say since they don’t do much except obstruct the protagonist in every way. In this regard, however, the cop pairing of Daniel Sunjata and Katherine Moennig is convincing.
Finally, I want to mention among my favorites the old reliable Michael Paré, star in the 1980s Streets of Fire, which was one of my favorite (and underrated) action flicks of that era, now appearing in small cameos like this case or in the devastating Rampage, still as the hapless police chief.