Synopsis: In the suspense thriller, Gone, Jill Parrish (Amanda Seyfried) comes home from a night shift to discover her sister Molly (Emily Wickersham) has been abducted. Jill, having escaped from a kidnapping a year before, is convinced that the same serial killer has come back and taken Molly. The police think Jill is crazy and are unwilling to use their resources to help her. Afraid that Molly will be dead by sundown, she sets out alone on a heart-pounding chase to find the killer, expose his secrets and save her sister.
Release Date: February 24, 2012 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Thriller, Action
When considering casting for the role of Jill in Gone, a story about a young woman who just may be crazy, and has to be able to look a little crazy-eyed throughout the film there may not have been a better choice than Amanda Seyfried. Her large saucer eyes that give off a deer in headlights appearance even when she is not trying work perfectly for the character of Jill, a woman who is battling demons from her past and trying to prove to everyone she is indeed not insane–or is she? The truth behind whether Jill is insane, having made-up an abduction the year prior that had her thrown in a hole in Forest Park with the remains of other women, is the core mystery behind Gone. The only way to find out how crazy Jill is is to follow her on a mad one-day chase to find her sister whom she assumes has been kidnapped just as she was, and by the same man. Gone quite easily could have been a mess of a film, and expectations may not appear high walking in but it surprises you immensely. The pacing is quick, the character of Jill perplexingly interesting, and watching Amanda Seyfried play vigilante detective wholly entertaining.
Gone begins by Jill searching Forest Park outside Portland, Oregon; in her possession is a map that she has marked off areas where she has explored. We soon discover her reason for the search, to find the hole she was thrown into when abducted by a man she cannot remember anything about. After being committed to a mental hospital against her will she is now living with her sister outside of Portland, Oregon and working the night shift at a diner with her one friend, Sharon (Jennifer Carpenter of “Dexter”). Jill is anything but cured over her ordeal, made worse by the fact that the authorities do not believe she was ever abducted as they could find no evidence to suspect. Her life is one of paranoia; with multiple locks on the doors, purposefully avoiding people on the street, and a constant deluge of pill popping–be them uppers or downers, to keep her in check. She is obsessed with proving she was abducted, but her actions say otherwise. The doubt created from the very beginning of the film on whether Jill is telling the truth or if it is all in her head is stifling. You empathize with her plight of having an unstable mind but also want to believe she is not in fact mentally ill. Getting behind a main character that may be making the entire story up, from her past to the present, is difficult–Gone makes it very easy.
When Jill arrives home from work in the early morning and finds her sister gone, without a note or any evidence that she prepared to leave (the pajamas she was wearing are not in the hamper), Jill immediately suspects that the man returned for her, and took her sister instead. His return being instigated by the fact that she is the only one that got away. The lead investigator on her case, Powers (Daniel Sunjata), does not believe her sister has been abducted; he thinks Jill is still mentally ill, and the one detective who might believe her, Peter Hood (Wes Bentley), comes across more like a suspect at being the abductor than a helping hand. Solving her sister’s abduction lies in the hands of Jill herself, and she goes on a wild spree to hunt down the man responsible all the while being on the run from the authorities herself as they think she is a danger to herself and others, again. Jill’s search takes the viewer on a non-stop thrill ride as you try to figure out if Jill is a mad woman or indeed sane; a mystery that pays off up until the very end.
Gone is in fact an action thriller, with mystery thrown in too. The action is not of the rockem’ sockem’ variety, or full of guns blazing and crazy stunts. It is all the type of action that keeps you motivated to see how everything will turn out. There are car chases, lots of running by Jill, some work with a gun, but all of this does not really equate to action. It does provide the necessary beats to keep the action of the mystery story moving along with twists and turns aplenty. The action may not be in your face, but the pacing of the events in the story make it action-packed for your mind.
The last thing one would expect from a mystery thriller like Gone is for it to be funny; and screenwriter Allison Burnett was probably not intending it to be either. Nevertheless, Gone will have you chuckling along the way because of the lines given to Jill and the other characters. The laughs are very much self dictated, but not of the inside variety as to where the general viewer won’t see the humor. For example, a character who mutters, “watchin’ my “Scrubs”” with complete seriousness, or saying a man has “rapey eyes.” Better yet, the locksmith who offers a frantic and very suspicious Jill a stick of gum. The favorite moment would have to be Jill responding to the detectives over her finding the man responsible for the abductions by stating, “I’ll sleep when he’s dead.”
The credit for the humor that exists in these scenes, and through the lines, goes to the actors themselves (who are obviously not taking it all too seriously but at the same time VERY seriously) and director Heitor Dhalia who realizes the greatness in comic relief in what is a very paranoia filled film. The small, subtle breakaways of (un)intentional humor makes Gone more engaging because it does not take you out of the moment but secures you further inside of it; you have to see the humor in the ignorance of so many characters Jill comes in contact with, and the humor in her own actions–she does indeed have a cell phone alarm reminder that reads “smile” when she is to take her prescribed pills that keep her sane. Funny, indeed.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Heitor DhaliaGary LucchesiTom Rosenberg
- Producer(s): Chris SalvaterraAllison Burnett
- Screenwriter(s): Amanda Seyfried (Jill)Daniel Sunjata (Powers)Jennifer Carpenter (Sharon Ames)
- Story: Sebastian Stan (Billy)
- Cast: Wes Bentley (Peter Hood)Emily Wickersham (Molly) John AxelradMichael GradyCharisse Cardenas
- Cinematographer: David Buckley
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA