If you were sending a gun-wielding assassin to kill someone would you also make sure to kidnap a kid and send her mom, too?

Gone is the story of nurse Amy Franklin (Molly Parker, Shattered) and she’s having a really bad day. It’s not bad enough her husband has served her with divorce papers in which he claims she is an unfit mother and thus he is seeking sole custody of their child. No, the angst doesn’t stop there, as Amy discovers when she goes to pick up their daughter Emily from school only to find she is missing. I’m sure at this point you’d be able to lay out the rest of the movie with very little difficulty.

And this type of by-the-numbers kidnapping plot is not what’s wrong with Gone. Instead the problem I have is with the characters; specifically this movie is inhabited by characters who act in ways completely against what they’ve been set up to do. The choices made are in direct contrast to what they should be. Our heroine is suffering some type of PTSD from a violent attack three years earlier. She’s on medication and is in therapy but still has blackouts and flashbacks which render her incapacitated until they pass. Yet once she makes the choice to follow the kidnapper’s demands and track down her daughter she also chooses to skip her medication with no ill effects.

I’m all for someone becoming empowered, but in order for this character to get past the earlier violence committed against her she must now be thrust into an even more violent situation? What does that say?!

And the evil mastermind behind this whole plot? He gets a call which tips him off that the plan is not going to come to fruition. Instead of killing Emily, getting out of town, any logical step at all…he apparently turns off his phone. This ensures that all the players end up in the same place for the final confrontation.

There is not a character in Gone who does not act in a contrary way. Yet in a sense it doesn’t even matter because you know how this whole thing is going to end up from the moment we learn about the kidnapping. Everything that happens from then on is simply another mile marker on the road to the predictable end.

The lone bright spot in the movie is Molly Parker. She portrays a woman struggling to cope with the aftermath of a brutal attack quite convincingly. Even though I didn’t agree with the choices her character made I always believed she was a mom who wanted her daughter back. Unfortunately her light did not shine bright enough to overshadow the movie’s flaws.

Gone started with a flashback sequence during which they employed a weird halo effect around the character. This effect had blown out white levels which thankfully did not carry for the rest of the movie. In fact I’d say the video was more than serviceable, holding the black levels very well during the key nighttime scenes. The audio too did a good job blending in to the scenery in a much more believable way than the typical Lifetime film. There were no extras on this disc.

THE VERDICT

Guilty.

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