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Gone (2012)

Lionsgate
Blu-ray Disc Released: 5/29/2012

All Ratings out of

Movie:

Video:
1/2
Audio:
1/2
Extras: No Extras

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 5/24/2012

Roger Ebert once said, "No good movie is too long, just as no bad movie is short enough." This great quote emphasizes the importance of a movie's running time. Supposedly, the average length of a movie has gotten shorter over the years, but I find this hard to believe, as most movies that I see seem to be bloated and overly-long. However, it seems that every few years a streamlined, 90-minute thriller comes along which reminds us how satisfying a concise movie can be. In 2008, we got Taken and in 2005 Red Eye hit theaters. Gone is the latest addition to this trend, although this movie may be a bit too streamlined.

Jill (Amanda Seyfried) seems to live a pretty normal life. She lives with her sister, Molly (Emily Wickersham), works as a waitress, and likes to stay in shape. However, Jill was abducted a year ago and barely escaped. The police were never able to find evidence of the crime, but Jill still scours the forest, searching for the hole where she was kept. Returning from her job on the night shift, Jill finds that Molly isn't home. A quick search of the house convinces Jill that Molly has been taken. Jill goes to the police, but Powers (Daniel Sunjata) and Lieutenant Bozeman (Michael Pare) don't believe her. Enraged, Jill decides to undertake the investigation on her own. She begins to find clues which take her all over the city. Believing that Jill is a danger, the police attempt to stop her. However, Jill is convinced that Molly's life is in danger and will stop at nothing.

Gone is a lot of things (and yet, it isn't), but slow-paced isn't one of them. The movie hits the ground running, as Molly goes missing in the first ten minutes and Jill is quickly on the case. The film's structure (and story) is somewhat similar to that of Taken, as the abduction takes places early in the first act and the rest of the film deals with the search. After getting nowhere with the police, Jill starts what is essentially a tour of the city, chasing clues. As this transpires, we get flashbacks to Jill's own personal ordeal to get a better idea of what happened to her on that night. The entire story takes place in a matter of hours, and as they tick by, Jill becomes more determined and cold-blooded.

But when you really step back and look at the framework of Gone, you realize that this is an odd little movie. At first glance, it is a straight-forward and stripped-down thriller which want to get in, tell its story, and get out. But, closer examination reveals that screenwriter Allison Burnett has attempted to put a lot of details and mini-sub-plots into the story, all of which are supposed to add to Jill's story. The problem is that many of these come across as far-fetched or too coincidental. For example, Jill is looking for a specific type of van and it just happens to drive past her...in a major city...and we're supposed to believe this. There is also a very questionable chain of events which leads Jill to her biggest clue. An odd line about cell phone coverage from the third act is never explained. The lack of detail in certain scenes makes the movie feels as if it were originally longer and has been whittled down to its current state.

We learn at the end of the first act that the police were always skeptical about Jill's story and that she had a difficult time following her abduction, which is understandable. We also see that Jill exhibits some strange behavior at times. (Which I thought would be explained, but it never is.) These elements begin to set up the movie as the kind of film which will have a twist. Now, don't get me wrong, we all love a twist. When we talk about movies like Fight Club or The Sixth Sense, it's the twist which gets us going. But, in a movie like Gone, we feel ourselves waiting for the twist. Everything else, no matter how important it's supposed to be, becomes superfluous as we wait for that shocking turn which the story is going to take. The bad news about Gone is that the twist never comes. The third act is played out in a very linear and precise manner and the finale happens very quickly, which is very unsatisfying. And then we have the last two scenes, which are either going to have you nodding your head in approval or throwing your hands up in disgust. I would say that about 99% of the audience will be doing the latter. The ending can be the most important part of a movie, as it's the last thing which we see, and Gone really blows it.

I know that some people love long movies, but give me a relatively short no-nonsense movie any day of the week. I've always said, "If you've only got enough story for 80-minutes, then make the best 80-minute movie that you can." At the outset, Gone looks as if it is going to fit into this category, but the story attempts to be too clever for its own good and the ending is a major groaner. That would probably explain why this movie opened in theater and then suddenly it was Gone.

Gone may be the first movie where I've heard the term "involuntary commitment" used correctly on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Lionsgate. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no obvious grain and no defects from the source material. This is one of those movies set in the northwest where its always overcast, but the image is never overly dark. The colors look good -- just look at how vibrant Jill's car is. The level of detail is very good, as textures on objects are visible and the image shows a nice amount of depth. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.6 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The surround effects are nicely done during the action sequences, particularly during the two car chases. The stereo effects are impressive as well, as they are nicely detailed and show good separation. Subwoofer effects come into play during the action scenes, but they are never overwhelming and don't drown out the dialogue.

The Gone Blu-ray Disc contains no special features.

Review Copyright 2012 by Mike Long