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'Gone' review: Bye bye brain cells...

By
Gone, Amanda Seyfried

Gone. That word aptly sums up the plausible location of your brain cells as the end credits mercifully role on this dismal attempt at a psychological thriller. The only shocking element is just how much battery your cognitive powers are on the receiving end of.

Copious amounts of red herrings and agonisingly contrived twists form a cruel two-pronged bombardment as this unengaging story of a disturbed young woman (Amanda Seyfried) searching for her sister drags on. The attempted narrative hook revolves around us guessing whether Jill is so disturbed that the whole situation is unfolding in her imagination, or if the police are wrong to dismiss her various claims and pleas.

Either way, she's an irritating bint whose fate is irrelevant. This is despite Seyfried turning in a thoroughly decent performance that convinces the viewer that Jill believes her own story and that the peril she thinks she faces is very serious indeed.

Director Heitor Dhalia does her no favours by filming her face to make it look as demented as possible at times, and eradicates any pretensions of authenticity by resorting to stale conventions such as a slurry of possibly misleading flashbacks and the mandatory shower scene (which doesn't leave that much to the imagination).

Huge chunks of the dialogue are also horribly portentous. "What's the worst that could happen, right?" Jill asks her sister hours before her disappearance. Shortly afterwards, a fellow waitress at the diner she works at tells her - "See what happens when you're nice to people - good things happen." Really. Why not just splice in footage of the Grim Reaper stomping round in the rain outside? Equally subtle.

Gone does briefly spark into life during the denouement, when Jill transforms from being a twitching irritant into an empowered heroine intent on having the last laugh over her detractors. The pacing and editing also serves to momentarily arouse one's curiosity from its slumber too, although this doesn't last long due to more desperate revelations being piled on.

Amanda Seyfried's portrayal would have worked a treat within the context of a skilfully woven narrative that wasn't so sensationalised, along with direction that veered towards the tender rather than the sledgehammer. But her efforts are ultimately to no avail as the script ensures that Gone is unsalvageable.


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