Gone has appeared to have received a whole bunch of bad reviews, which I don’t think is entirely fair. Yes, it’s not going to win any awards any time soon, but it never once bored me or annoyed me at all. If I had to pick one word to describe this film, I would pick ‘average’. It was almost as if I felt like I spent the entire time just waiting for things to properly get started, but that moment never came. I thought there was going to be something slightly more, something meatier to the storyline than there was, but as it turns out the film is a fairly straightforward game of cat-and-mouse, a trying-to-catch-a-criminal affair. There’s nothing at all wrong with this, the film is perfectly fine to watch and definitely had some creepy moments!

I was rather surprised to hear that Amanda Seyfried was cast in this thriller, considering her other work, but I fully commend her on managing to make that step from romantic comedies to a darker performance with ease. She is completely believable as the traumatised yet determined heroine of the movie. It proves to be really quite a jolt when one still has the image of Karen from Mean Girls stuck in your head, but she has definitely grown up and moved on from that type of role.

The other characters did not have nearly enough background and development to them, meaning that they almost appeared to be an after-thought to the overall story. The police really were quite useless during the course of the film and the whole situation about Jill’s sister (Jennifer Carpenter) being an alcoholic (or used to be), was unnecessary, in my opinion. But, I suppose, this film was not so much about these people, and so it was not essential that these characters be given the same air-time as Amanda Seyfried got. The basic story of the movie is about a girl tracking down a man who has kidnapped her sister, with an added complication that she believes it to be the same man who kidnapped her some time previously. It plays with a favourite movie trick of the main character insisting on something which everyone else within the story is adamantly against – and whilst this can grate a little with the viewer, why hate upon a long-standing tradition? Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Examples of others with this narrative tool include Rear Window, Rosemary’s Baby, Aliens, They Live, The Day After Tomorrow…the list really could go on and on.

For me, the final confrontation seemed to be lacking, especially considering that is what the whole film had been building up to! The whole scene had a huge set up – driving along a dirt road at night, being given instructions of where to go next via a mobile phone, the mysterious person almost taunting Jill (Amanda Seyfried’s character) in an unnerving manner through the phone, which starts to lose signal – yet when we are finally met with the culprit, things are moved at such a rapid pace which negates the importance of what is happening. It took me by surprise in a way, as American films usually love and relish those moments where ‘good faces evil’ in an epic fight to the death – as stereotyped as that sounds, I think this is what would have nicely completed the movie.

I swear I frequently mention the ending of the film’s I review in a pessimistic manner, but this is only because they are so crucial in setting the final ‘tone’ of the movie. It is the ending which most stays on the viewers mind once a film is over, it is the ending which makes that lasting impression. Therefore, it is vital for directors to develop a decent ending from the very beginning of the planning stages, as it is such a shame to see so many films fall down at this last hurdle. The ending of Gone didn’t seem to do justice to the rest of the film, but I shan’t hold that against it.

To sum up, this should definitely be described as a thriller, rather than a horror, and is certainly an interesting watch. The performances are all good – albeit with some characters lacking enough substance – and the pace of the movie is just right to keep attention to a maximum, by moving forward regularly in Jill’s pursuit of the serial killer/kidnapper. She uses her cunning and charm to work her way towards her goal (better than any of the policemen manage!), and it is indeed fun to be along for the ride with her. This one is worth a watch for sure, very easy to watch and get into, not too much of a head-scratcher – which is a plus after a hard day at work!