Here's something they don't teach you in acting school. When you're making a movie and running for your life, you need to look like it. You need to go all out, eyes wild with fear, arms flailing.
Look like Pierce Brosnan running from this or that explosion in a couple of Bond pictures, or like Franka Potente in "Run Lola Run."
Try not to look like Robert Redford in "The Natural" - guarded, scared of falling, an old man pretending to run with a young man's abandon.
Amanda Seyfried is a manic, paranoid survivor of a "Silence of the Lambs" serial killer in "Gone." She crawled out of a hole in the forest and lived to tell the tale. She's sure that her sister (Emily Wickersham) has been kidnapped by the same guy, that she only has until sunset before Molly is killed.
And not for one second do you believe Seyfried is frightened for that sister. A fine actress on most occasions, here she's loping along like the pretty girl scared of mussing her hair and makeup in gym class. There's nothing in the film - which lacks urgency - or her eyes or physical demeanor that suggests panic, fear, desperation.
Jill should be desperate. She was abducted a year ago, and escaped. No one believed her.
"He's come back for me. He took my sister because I wasn't there!"
The Portland cops are tired of her routine. They won't look for her sister. But when Jill, who sizes up the "kidnapping" as if she's been expecting it, sets out to solve the case in the few hours she thinks Molly has left, every cop in town is sent out to stop her.
"Gone" is a 95-minute thriller that hinges on whether or not we believe Jill - on medication since her trauma, briefly institutionalized after it as well - is right, or if this is all in her head.
Every man she meets is a threat. Could the "kidnapper" be the creepy locksmith, the creepy customer in her diner, the creepy janitor, the creepy cop (Wes Bentley)? But the movie fails to do much with that mystery. That makes for a thriller that feels sedate and slow, and a big payoff that feels like a cheat.
And Seyfried never sells "crazy." She didn't get the direction or the number of takes necessary for that to come off. Or maybe she was too worried about her perfect hair and makeup.
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Emily Wickersham, Daniel Sunjata, Wes Bentley, Michael Pare
Directed by Heitor Dhalia, written by Allison Burnett. A Summit release. Running time 1:35
MPAA rating: PG:13 for violence and terror, some sexual material, language and drug references