Friday, February 24, 2012

Gone [2012]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III)  Fr. Dennis (2 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing -

CNS/ USCCB Review -

Gone (directed by Heitor Dahlia, written by Allison Burnett) is a rather uncomplicated if quite well played genre piece -- a paranoid/psychological thriller -- about a young woman named Jill (played by Amanda Seyfried) living in Portland, Oregon who had survived a traumatic ordeal.

Jill had been abducted by a man, thrown into a pit (dug by the abductor) somewhere deep in the forests surrounding Portland and survived to escape and tell the tale only because she was able to drive piece of a bone left from one of the other girls who had been abducted, presumably raped and then left to die in the pit before her.  Disoriented after she emerged from the forest to safety, she was unable to lead authorities to the pit.  After a couple of weeks of increasingly half-hearted searching the authorities apparently concluded that since they were unable to identify/capture her attacker or find the pit, she may have simply invented the story for reasons unknown.  Indeed when we meet Jill in the film, we see that she is on a fairly strict regimen of medication needing to take several pills several times a day.

Film begins about a year after Jill's ordeal.  It's clear that she at least has not given-up on finding the hole in the woods of the protected forest in which she had been held.  Still, viewers get a definite sense of the vastness of the woods in the area and the difficulty of finding the hole especially if one's memory of the events was necessarily imperfect/clouded by trauma.

Still, Jill had survived her ordeal.  This was something that was clearly significant not only to her as a survivor, but also to her abductor:  She would be the only person who could presumably eventually find the pit (with the remains of the other abducted and killed women) and perhaps even find and identify him.  So the film becomes not just of Jill trying to prove her story and capture her abductor, but also about the abductor trying to "tie up loose ends" (his own words, we find out).

So one night while Jill was at work and having borrowed her sister's car rather than driving her own, Jill's sister Molly (played by Emily Wickersham) disappears.  Jill's immediately convinced that she was abducted by her abductor.  The police, of course, think that she's crazy, noting that there could be any number of irrational / irresponsible reasons for a young woman like Jill's sister to "not be home" one morning, even if "she had a final exam that next day" and Molly's boyfriend "didn't know where she was either."  One of the police detectives who had worked previously on Jill's case asks her "Did you ever think that your sister could have had a second boyfriend?  Just saying, it happens..."

So Jill's convinced that Molly's been kidnapped and in immediate danger of being killed and the police is convinced that Jill's disturbed.  Much ensues...

A genre film like this often depends on good writing and dialogue.  I have to say that I found Jill's talking-up of various potential witnesses to the abduction of her sister and then of people who may have known something about the potential perpetrator to be very well done.  All in all, for what the film was -- a paranoid/psychological thriller -- I thought it was quite well done and probably a lot of late teens and young adults would enjoy watching it.

Parents should note that while nothing is every shown, the film assumes as a matter of course a young adult sexual morality (immorality...), mostly heterosexual but at least in one case homosexual, that would make an R-rating for the film more suitable than PG-13.  Indeed, due to subject matter alone -- after all it is about abducting and terrorizing young people -- an R-rating would probably have been more appropriate.  Sometimes, I simply don't understand Hollywood's rating decisions, but parents just take note.  This film, while certainly a pretty good young adult "date movie," it's not really "for the little ones."

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