There are bad movies and then there are horrible movies. And then way below both of those levels there’s Gone (2012). Amanda Seyfried stars in what is easily the worst film of 2012. I’m not sure if it’s possible for another film to come by and snatch that title because Gone is so unbelievably boring and pointless. The story is mostly garbage that can be poked through in a matter of minutes and the acting ranges from laughable to atrocious. There’s a reason why Summit Entertainment is getting bought out by Lionsgate and that’s because they somehow let films like Gone slip through the cracks and make it all the way through production into an actual wide theatrical release.
Jill (Amanda Seyfried) has a troubled past. Her parents both died within months of each other and to top it all off she was “abducted” and nearly killed. She escaped her killer only to bring the police back to an empty crime scene. After a full-on investigation the police couldn’t find anything, which leads to Jill getting involuntarily checked into a psych hospital. There in the hospital she constantly replays the events in her head, questioning what really happened and what she might have made up.
She’s eventually released and rooms with her sister Molly (Emily Wickersham) for comfort. Just one night before a big final, Molly goes to bed while Jill leaves for the graveyard shift at a nearby diner. Jill returns in the morning and can’t seem to find Molly. She tries her boyfriend, neighbors and every place she can possibly think of, but Molly is nowhere to be found. She immediately rushed to the police and is almost instantly disregarded. The cops think she’s just making things up and that she should wait it out a few days before they’ll take it serious.
If that last paragraph was even plausible than maybe Gone wouldn’t be the worst film of 2012 so far, but if this were the real world I’m almost 95% sure that police would have to form some sort of investigation almost instantly, because you know, it’s kind of their job. But Gone goes beyond stretching your believability. You’re not just asked to throw logic out the window, but also the basic fundamentals of how a film is structured. There’s something called a story, with main and supporting characters. Usually the story leads somewhere, like a big twist reveal or a safer saw-it-coming-from-a-mile-away approach, but Gone doesn’t feature either of those results.
It presents a very vague story and hints at revealing more of Jill’s secretive past as the film moves along, but it never actually reveals anything. You get a few flashbacks of her peeling off duct-tape and running through the woods, but it’s all stuff you already know about. You don’t need a visual of someone escaping the remote woods when she constantly describes it over and over and over.
Gone tries introducing some supporting characters like Molly’s boyfriend, a few cops and a co-worker. None of these characters service the actual story in any way. They simply show up for 5 to 10 minutes at a time to argue with Jill. From that point Jill either runs away in a fit of rage or she pleads for them to listen to her, followed by a fit of rage. She’s the biggest bitch protagonist in film history. There’s not one minute of film spent on trying to make you feel bad for her, which is odd since her parents died and she was supposedly kidnapped.
Characters with that much baggage shouldn’t have a problem gaining your pity, but Jill spits on that theory with every chance she gets. Everyone is either out to get her or to slow her down. Not one single individual is looking out for her well-being, according to Jill’s perspective.
It’s this mentality that weighs down Gone. Director Heitor Dhalia never once sheds light on the supporting roles, so you’re stuck rooting for Jill, but after ten minutes with her on the screen you’ll be begging for her to get hit by a bus or even worse, kidnapped and tortured again. I’m serious; she’s that unbearable.
Amanda Seyfried does the role no favors either. Sure, she’s easy on the eyes, but she’s a real grump. A paranoid grump that’s determined to bring a killer that might not even exist, to justice. That’s one way of describing her. You could also describe Jill as a poorly written, one-dimensional character that’s never really given any personality to allow the viewer to connect to her.
Then, to throw gasoline on the fire, there’s an abrupt ending that ties nothing together. The whole film builds towards this final reveal, that will either make you dislike the film or really hate the film and Gone goes the route of making you despise the film. There’s no connective tissue between the ending and the hour and fifteen minutes before it. Jill finds something, pursues it and then calls it a night. Case closed, end of story, go home.
From a story perspective the ending makes very little sense. It lacks logic, direction and most importantly, reward. You’re supposed to feel concluded at the end of a mystery/thriller like Gone. You’re not supposed to feel like you’ve wasted time and money watching a poorly made thriller take a turn for the worse with an ending that doesn’t make one reference to everything you had to sit through to get to that point. It’s just pure bullshit and laziness from everyone involved.
I’m sorry, but the people involved in Gone have no reason to be working anymore. It’s a piss-poor excuse of a movie and it has no reason to belong in theaters, let alone on DVD. Amanda Seyfried doesn’t deserve the entire backlash though, because she has nothing to work with. The character is beyond saving and I’d like to think she was just trying to collect a check and get some screen time. Still, her signing onto the film meant that an actual star was attracted, so in recollection she is partially responsible for Gone‘s existence.
Gone needs to find itself a dark place to hide at the bottom of a very large hole out in the most remote forest known to man. Maybe then it will quickly be erased from Summit Entertainment’s library as one of the worst films I’ve ever seen.
Gone (2012) – 3.5/10