Amanda Seyfried could sustain a career simply by batting her bounteous eyes on command. That innate gift gets taxed by “Gone,” the new thriller casting the actress as a young woman in fear for her life.
Or should she be more fearful of her own damaged psyche?
“Gone,” out May 29 on Blu-ray and DVD, can’t busy itself with psychological games nor the rigors of amateur sleuthing. It’s absorbing all the same, thanks to both Seyfried and direction that makes even the most rudimentary scenes hum with low-grade tension.
Seyfried is Jill, a young woman who escaped an abduction a while back but still feels the emotional fallout from the attack. Except the local police insist she wasn’t captured at all. They can’t find any clues to corroborate her story.
So when Jill’s sister (Emily Wickersham) goes missing, the police assume there’s a sensible explanation for her disappearance. Jill insists her former abductor is back and now has poor sis in his clutches, so she decides to do a little police work to find her.
If only every cop culled clues as easily as Jill. Every string she pulls leads to something useful — a tip, a suspect or a red herring to keep us slightly off balance. “Gone” is more concerned with sustaining our interest than building a credible story for us to follow.
And the approach does have its perks, especially as director Heitor Dahlia makes quiet sequences feel as if they could bleed into violence at any moment. We’ll forgive the ‘thrown cat’ cheap scare, arguably the flimsiest way to keep audiences off guard.
“Gone” offers a tidy showcase for Seyfried, who brings a high-powered pluckiness to Jill’s quest. She could have put the accelerator down harder on the performance, but “Gone” needs a stable core, given the wobbly nature of the material. It’s not her fault that the narrative demands she suffer the loss of some gray matter to steer Jill to the improbably finale.
But the film squanders an intriguing supporting cast including Daniel Sunjata, Jennifer Carpenter and Wes Bentley, who once more relies on his “I’m so handsome I’m a tad creepy” vibe.
“Gone” ends with a confrontation that doesn’t live up to the advanced billing, but our heroine has one last trick up her blouse that reminds us why we hung around in the first place.
The Blu-ray release arrives without any extras, perhaps a nod to the film’s quick theatrical release and unpleasant reception from most critics.