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Seyfried stars in vanilla thriller

I desperately want to remake “Gone.”

It’s been out for a week, but I think America is ready for a good version of “Gone.” Movie theaters could have posters up that said something like “See the original version of ‘Gone’” and right next to it, there could be a poster saying, “Hey, here’s a version of ‘Gone’ that’s actually a lot more watchable.” I think this would work.

As it stands, “Gone” is something of a thriller. Amanda Seyfried plays a girl who after a harrowing year of having both her parents die, being committed to a mental institution, being kidnapped by a psychopath and being committed to another mental institution (do you get it? She’s sort of crazy! The writers really want us to know that!), is living quietly with her studious sister until one day, her sister is mysteriously kidnapped. Seyfried thinks the kidnapper is after her, goes to the police and is essentially laughed out of the station.

Really, the whole movie hinges on Seyfried. The cops don’t believe her, her friends don’t believe her and she’s packing a .38 revolver and looking for the truth the only way a giant-eyed blonde crazy girl can. That being said, she handles it well. There’s a lot of great work establishing her character as a deeply wounded person with plenty of issues to get through, but the movie sticks her with so much terrible dialogue, awful problems to solve and logical inconsistencies that you can’t help but laugh as she holds up a locksmith in a parking lot in broad daylight.

Seyfried’s performance is one of the few bright spots of the whole film. The rest of the cast, made up almost entirely of people who look like they have appeared in maybe one episode of Law and Order, are dull at best and poorly written at worst. Making things even more logically problematic, Seyfried seems to live in a world where every disturbed neighbor, janitor and hardware store clerk is an expert eye witness who is willing to tell her anything she needs to know after a couple of lies from her.

Although the camera work, action sequences and general plot are almost unbelievably weak, there are moments of distilled greatness here. Near the end of the film, we watch as Seyfried approaches the killer’s hideout, talking to him on the phone. It’s a chilling, quiet scene as the two unstable characters mince words in the darkness, both moving to the inevitable conclusion.

The ending is also dynamite, pulling no punches in the brutality department and offering a great conclusion that is sadly undone by a second ending that comes all of 30 seconds later. I can’t spoil what happens in those final few seconds, but it is one of the single dumbest moments I’ve ever seen committed to film and it’s an insult to the rest of the movie.

Look, I know people aren’t watching “Gone” looking for high art. Hell, I couldn’t really explain why I saw it and in a couple months, people will probably forget that it was a movie but we deserve better and frankly, Amanda Seyfried deserves better. It’s too bad that she had to prove it in a rarely entertaining, almost never thrilling mystery movie.

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