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  Gone She Wants That Man
Year: 2012
Director: Heitor Dhalia
Stars: Amanda Seyfried, Daniel Sunjata, Jennifer Carpenter, Sebastian Stan, Wes Bentley, Nick Searcy, Socratis Otto, Emily Wickersham, Joel David Moore, Katherine Moennig, Michael Paré, Sam Upton, Ted Rooney, Erin Carufel, Amy Lawhorn, Susan Hess
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jill (Amanda Seyfried) has a troubled past, but she's trying to put the confounding pieces of her recent experiences into some kind of logical order. She spends her free time exploring the forests around Portland, Oregon which she thinks hold the key to the big mystery in her life, and when she's not doing that she's working the late shift at a local diner, taking self-defence classes, or living with her student sister Molly (Emily Wickersham) who though she has had problems with alcohol before, is over them and now helping look after Jill since she's been released from the mental hospital. But she might be heading back there...

Gone was one of those "Is she crazy or not?" thrillers, which somewhere along the way was merged with your classic "They won't believe me" template, not an original trick, but one which can be quite satsifying if presented with sufficient aplomb, not to mention a dose of twists and turns to sustain the interest. And in this case it managed to keep the audience guessing thanks to a wide-eyed Seyfried performance - yeah, there might not be any other kind, but at least that intense, green-eyed stare was being put to good use as questions arise about just how sane - or more pertinently insane - she could possibly be.

Actually, it was quite amusing to watch her bluff her way through yet another dodgy plot convenience, what with the main theme as how we can tell what is and what isn't the truth. Jill undoubtedly believes she was kidnapped some months before, but the cops have their doubts and nobody was charged, so all her vivid memories of getting stuck in a pit where she uncovered the bones of the previous occupants could well be invented by her psychotic mind. We get flashbacks to these memories throughout, and are left to form our opinion about exactly how accurate these are, until the finale at any rate where the doubts are solved one way or the other, which throws up problems of its own.

Anyway, the reason Jill thinks the madman who possibly did, or possibly did not, abduct her is back is because when she returns home to Molly after her sister told her to wake her up when she arrived, she finds that Molly has disappeared, and has apparently gone out wearing nothing but her pyjamas. Anxiously, she rushes over to the police but because she has a record of overreacting (or is she? etc) they refuse to believe her and think if anything her sibling has gone off drinking. Which raises another issue in Allison Burnett's script in that he is so shackled by the conventions, some would say clichés, of this genre that we in the audience begin to find not only Jill, but the whole plot hard to believe.

Therefore the cops are dumb enough not to investigate the kidnapping of Molly, but they are quick enough to send patrol cars after Jill, apparently just because this sort of affair demands a car chase or some excuse for the heroine to fire her revolver (she doesn't hit a cop, it's a warning shot). So for all Seyfried's borderline crazy performance, it's wasted when this is resolved in such a way that is less shocking revelation and more "Oh, fair enough" underwhelming. She is entertaining as her lies spiral out of control, obfuscating the characters' view of what is going on if not the audience's, but you feel she was putting all this energy into a story that needed more of a kick to its denouement rather than some revenge which wasn't much of a surprise as otherwise this played it so safe. A last minute bit of business meant to deepen the mystery serves little purpose unless they were hedging their bets that people would want to see a sequel: you probably won't. Music by David Buckley.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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