Sign in using your account with
Gone: An 'Is She Crazy, Is She Sane' Psychological Thriller
Jill (Seyfried) doesn’t have the best relationship with the police. After being kidnapped and thrown into a hole in the middle of the forest, which she luckily managed to escape from, the police refused to believe a word she said and stuck her in a mental institution. Fast forward a bit and she’s out of the loony bin, dealing with anxiety problems, carrying a gun and taking kickboxing lessons. She comes home one day from her waitressing job to find her sister gone. Convinced that the kidnapper came back for her and took Molly (Wickersham) instead, she tries to get the police to take her claims seriously, but to no avail. Left with no other choice, she takes to the streets piecing together the clues to find Molly and her kidnapper, before time runs out.
This thriller requires you to suspend your powers of logic for a while. While for the most part it tries to be more of a psychological thriller, the moments which require Jill to do some actual sleuthing are a long shot - to put it mildly. The clues she finds as to the kidnapper’s whereabouts are either absurdly simple or completely farfetched. The latter in particular are a real crime since the kidnapper keeps asserting that he kidnapped Molly to lure Jill. If his aim was truly to lure Jill, the clues he left her wouldn’t have been so discreet, random and easily overlooked.
Also, the characters are pretty shallow. The police officers are uniformly incompetent or lazy or a mixture of both. They stand around looking annoyed for the whole film. As for Jill, she’s rather strange. She fluctuates between two states: one in which she’s single-mindedly obsessed with saving her sister and the other in which she compulsively lies to everyone she meets. The first is logical and, based on her own history with the kidnapper and her relationship with Molly, highly understandable. The latter however is just plain odd. We’re never given a motive or reason for why she’s such a pathological liar and it seems rather out of character. Would somebody in her nerve-wracking situation have it in them to lie so well, or keep their numerous stories straight for that matter? We’re told that Jill stuck to her story for the entire time that she was locked up in hospital. Would somebody who wouldn’t tell a fib to get out of a mental hospital become a chronic liar?
In addition to being a liar, the film also keeps trying to push the possibility that Jill isn’t really all there in the head, though seeing as it’s Jill’s word against that of the useless police force, the idea never really registers the way it should in order to give the film a decent psychological bend and keep the viewers guessing.
Despite its inconsistencies, Gone manages to be a decent, light thriller until the ending which derails the film completely. It’s not innovative and the film is very basic despite the attempt to give it depth. However, it’s rather fast paced and Seyfried makes for a very watchable heroine, even if her character makes little sense and is unworthy of her talent.
The story of legendary fictional traveller and shipwreck survivor Robinson Crusoe, has received colourful 3D animated treatment in The Wild Life; a cheery, if not a little bland, story of an unlikely friendship told with a decent amount of energy. The film follows the basic plot of Daniel Defoe's 1719 novel, The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, but tells the story from the view of the animals.
The story is mostly narrated by a bright red and exceptionally chatty parrot named Mak (voiced by Howard), who dreams of one day leaving the seemingly magical and tropical paradise island in order to see what else is out there. His fellow islanders – an exotic mix of species including a goat named Scrubby (Camen), a curvy blueberry tapir named Rosie (Berzins) and super slick chameleon called Carmello (Metzger) – however, are not so worried about venturing beyond the edges of the island, content with their peaceful existence and their abundant supply of food.
Things soon take a surprising turn, when Crusoe’s ship smashes onto their shores and while all of the other animals are cautious in their approach to the seemingly clumsy and lanky ginger-haired man – and spend most of their time observing him and his loyal dog companion from a safe distance - Mak is a little more forthcoming and sees Crusoe as his ticket out of there. Realising that they are his only way of survival, Crusoe befriends his new animal buddies while the arrival of two savage cats poses a threat to them all.
Framing the story so that it is told entirely from the perspective of the animals, rather than through the eyes of Crusoe, definitely provides an interesting twist onto this old tale which is undoubtedly mostly unknown to the movie’s young target audience. The animation – although nowhere near as sophisticated as Disney or Pixar - is easy on the eye and co-directors Vincent Kesteloot and Ben Stassen – who previously worked together on A Turtle’s Tale : Sammy’s Escape From Paradise – infuse the story with plenty of colour and engrossing 3D imagery.
The difficulties, however, come with the excess amount of characters present in the storyline and their various accents – ranging from Scottish to Australian – which can get a little distracting at times, while the actual dialogue spoken could have done with a bit more imagination and oomph. Nevertheless, The Wild Life is still a relatively entertaining animated adventure of a famous adventurer which the youngsters will happily eat up.
As far as B-movies go, there’s the good kind of bad, there’s actual bad and then there is just downright awful. Chuck Russell’s latest dip into the B-grade action pool, the exceptionally dreadful and contrived I Am Wraith, has unfortunately fallen somewhere right in the middle proving once again that John Travolta’s faltering career is still very much on the decline.
Written by Paul Solan, the story is set in Columbus, Ohio and it is centred on Stanley Hill (Travolta); a former special ops agent who has decided to leave the dangers of his job behind and now works in the car industry. His wife, Vivian (De Mornay), is an EPA analyst and, as the movie opens, we watch her excitedly welcoming her husband home from a long trip away. However, their reunion is short lived when, seemingly out of nowhere, a group of thugs kill Vivian and wound Stanley before he escapes.
Devestated by the loss of his wife, Stanley is left with no choice but to return to his old line of work as a trained CIA assassin, quickly reuniting with old partner Dennis (Law & Order’s very own Meloni) who is excited to help his buddy chase down the killers. With his daughter Abbie (Schull) very much in the dark about her father’s intentions, Stanley’s plan of revenge soon gets complicated when he realises that there are people up at the top – including Governor Meserve (Esprit) and local kingpin, Lemi K (Sloan) – connected to the murder.
Juggling one too many ideas at once, director Chuck Russell doesn’t seem to have a clear idea about what he wants his movie to be; is it a bloody revenge thriller? Is it an actioner with a political conspiracy undertone? Or is it a buddy-cop movie? It’s very unclear and the story serves up a stream of tough-guy-fighting-bad-guys clichés. Switching the focus and overall tone numerous times during the course of the movie, the action sequences are decent, though the overuse of slow-mo shots proves a little tiresome at times, while the plot’s pacing and emotional is all over the place.
Sporting a ridiculous wig, Travolta switches on his macho mode and, for the most part, we believe him. However, the novelty of watching the sixty-plus year old actor fighting his way through the bad guys – all the while indulging in atrocious dialogue with the slightly more affective Meloni – wears out pretty darn soon. Generic, clichéd and exceptionally tiring, I Am Wrath fits in well within the ‘geriaction’ genre of movies that Taken kicked off, but without any of the conviction of the Liam Neeson-starring adventure.