Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Out of sight, out of mind

Heitor Dhalia may have attempted to rejuvenate Gone in the style of classic Film Noir but the production shows that the team does not have the insight or judgment to pull off such a feat.

Amanda Seyfried as Jill

Jill and Molly
The key interest in the film is the fact that it is helmed by Amanda Seyfried who happens to be one of the most popular young actresses on the block. She has starred in productions like Dear John,Mamma Mia,Red Riding Hood,Chloe and Letters to Juliet which has put her in the limelight. Now she takes on the central role in Gone, a thriller which follows the actions of a troubled young girl who is the sole survivor of a series of murders that had taken place in the midst of the woods near her home. Jill is a girl who never says die and is still attempting to uncover the mystery by herself. A loner, Jill's only friend is her recovering alcoholic sister, Molly.
Unhappy and suspicious about the world around her Jill's habit is to consistently pop antidepressants and send herself text alerts reminding her to smile. However when she returns home one morning to find Molly inexplicably missing, Jill becomes hysterical. She suspects that the killer had come searching for her and had abducted her sister instead.

The cops quickly dismiss Jill's claims about her sister being abducted even though Jill seems to be on the verge of losing her mind. Her dramatic behaviour and threats do not affect them the least. For them she is the girl who had faked her own abduction.
Though Jill does not have a single evidence to back her theories, she does have a record of mental illness and recently deceased parents which suggest that she is either imagining the facts or using the tale to gain attention. She spins out tall tales in a maximum scale in appropriate situations to get information.
This is how the story goes but it is all too familiar. You have seen dozens of such movies in which the hero or heroine has to take the matter in hand because the authorities do not believe in them and end up chasing them instead because they suspect that they are troublemakers disrupting the peace of the neighbourhood. More than once the first stranger that Jill approaches seems to know the information that she is seeking. There are many such logical gaps in 'Gone' which makes it look like a failed experiment.
Yet the predictable tale has a surprisingly watchable note to it. Instances like the creepy trip into Oregon woods sends a chill up the viewer's spine as Jill' only guiding source is a flat-voiced mystery man who gives her directions through a mobile phone. Characters have been introduced to the tale to create confusions. At one point we suspect that the new cop who shows keen interest in Jill's moves is actually the culprit.
At another instance we think that the killer is actually one who follows her around and has even been at the diner that she works. There is even a moment when we suspect that the whole episode if a fragment of Jill's imaginations and that Molly's disappearance has something to do with an emergency. Such mixed messages are found throughout the movie and manages to keep the audience guessing as each scene unfurls.
This is the strength of 'Gone' which keeps the viewers at the edge of their seat till they come to the disappointing finale where Jill has to hide her heroic actions and relate a tale on how she has misjudged the facts. Though the story is far below her standards Seyfried carries off the actions of her wide-eyed heroine in a convincing manner. Playing a character similar to a hyper-neurotic Nancy Drew, Seyfried does not go overboard as the panic-stricken girl and strikes just the right balance that her character demands. However this alone is not sufficient to keep the audience engaged. Gone does truly have a short term effect and does not linger in our minds for long.