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Gone

"Gone" is a low-pulse thriller that evaporates from memory with the last credit.

With:
Jill - Amanda Seyfried
Powers - Daniel Sunjata
Sharon Ames - Jennifer Carpenter
Billy - Sebastian Stan
Peter Hood - Wes Bentley
Mr. Miller - Nick Searcy
Jim - Socratis Otto
Molly - Emily Wickersham
Nick Massey - Joel David Moore

Underwhelming “Gone” stars Amanda Seyfried as a young Portland woman who escaped a serial killer she now thinks has captured her sister, though police believe both crises are all in her head. There’s little distinguishing color or character to the proceedings as penned by Allison Burnett (“Underworld Awakening,” “Fame”) and directed by English-language debutant Heitor Dhalia (of Brazilian pics “Adrift” and “Drained”), resulting in a low-pulse thriller that evaporates from memory with the last credit. Opening amid medium-wattage bows and holdovers, the pic looks to post modest numbers theatrically before finding greener pastures in ancillary.

Jill (Seyfried) is still highly agitated from her abduction a year before, which she survived by overcoming a barely glimpsed captor in the state-park hole where he kept her (and the remains of past victims). But neither the site nor any other concrete evidence was ever found; as Jill was previously institutionalized following the death of her parents, her story is dismissed as delusional. When she comes home one night to find college-student sister Molly (Emily Wickersham) missing the day of an important exam, however, Jill is convinced the perp has struck again.

She runs around the city playing sleuth, convinced Molly will be killed at nightfall unless found. The cops are no more convinced this time around, and when Jill is spotted with a .38 — her mental history makes firearm possession illegal — it’s her they pursue, not the possibly imaginary maniac. Needless to say, the latter proves quite real.

Pic’s climax is a letdown, particularly since it reveals almost nothing further about the killer, who, for all the attention devoted to his motivations and methods, might as well be identified in the final crawl as “Some Guy.” This places the entire narrative on Jill’s shoulders, but neither her frantic investigation nor Seyfried’s OK perf is compelling enough to comfortably sustain that weight. Nor is there much real suspense, such that when the pic pulls the old “cat suddenly jumps from the closet” gag, even that rote false scare provides a welcome goosing.

Pic is competently assembled but brings no special sensibility or panache to a script short on both; supporting turns and design contributions are likewise no more inspired than the material. Michael Grady’s Red One lensing does make some moody good use of Northwest locations.

Gone

Production: A Summit Entertainment release presented with Lakeshore Entertainment and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment of a Lakeshore and Sidney Kimmel production. Produced by Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Dan Abrams, Chris Salvaterra, Kimmel. Executive producers, Jim Tauber, Matt Berenson, Andre Lamal, Eric Reid, Ted Gidlow, Bruce Toll. Directed by Heitor Dhalia. Screenplay, Allison Burnett.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Michael Grady; editor, John Axelrad; music, David Buckley; music supervisors, Brian McNelis, Eric Craig; production designer, Charisse Cardenas; art director, Sarah Contant; set decorator, Teresa Visinare; costume designer, Lindsay Ann McKay; sound (Datasat/Dolby Digital), Glenn Micallef; supervising sound editors, Avram D. Gold, Bryan O. Watkins; re-recording mixers, Gregory H. Watkins, J. Stanley Johnston; casting, Deborah Aquila, Tricia Wood. Reviewed at AMC 1000 Van Ness, San Francisco, Feb. 24, 2012. MPAA rating: PG-13. Running time: 95 MIN.

With: Jill - Amanda Seyfried
Powers - Daniel Sunjata
Sharon Ames - Jennifer Carpenter
Billy - Sebastian Stan
Peter Hood - Wes Bentley
Mr. Miller - Nick Searcy
Jim - Socratis Otto
Molly - Emily Wickersham
Nick Massey - Joel David Moore
With: Katherine Moenning, Michael Pare, Sam Upton, Ted Rooney, Erin Carufel, Amy Lawhorn.

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