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by Laura Leon on March 1, 2012

Directed by Heitor Dhalia

Give me my sister--or a taco! Seyfried in GONE.

Jill, a waitress troubled with fractured memories of having a year earlier been kidnapped and left in a hole in the woods, comes home from her late shift to discover her sister Molly (Emily Wickersham) missing. Logical conclusion: Molly has been kidnapped by the same would-be serial killer who nicked Jill. The thought that Molly might have gotten a case of the midnight munchies and hit the nearest Taco Bell never even enters the picture. Jill tries to get the Portland, Ore., police to sit up and take note; they, however, remember her case, and how she was subsequently institutionalized when they could find no trace of any evidence of foul play. So, in a move that even my 9-year-old would question, Jill—she of the already compromised credibility—goes into crazy-lone-gunman mode. “Yeah,” you’re saying aloud to the screen (because there’s only one other person there, and he’s sleeping one off), “that’ll make them believe you.”

The movie, which was written by Allison Burnett, provides an array of skeevy would-be suspects, scraping the bottom of the societal barrel along the way. There’s the seedy hotel manager, and the uptight widower, to name just two. Juxtaposed next to Seyfried’s pallid prettiness, they all look especially menacing, and desperately in need of some personal-hygiene products. Jill runs through streets and forests, desperate to reach Molly before she dies—or maybe in time to add a chicken burrito to that Taco Bell order. It’s a lot of cloak-and-dagger, only minus any real sense of dread or foreboding. The movie fails to delve deeper into Jill’s backstory and her psyche; it would have been far more interesting if we had the sneaking suspicion that maybe she’s completely around the bend, and that’s the real reason for her sister’s being gone. (Or is there even a sister?) Instead, it’s a whole lot of running around in search of . . . not so much Molly, but a compelling narrative.