Earlier today, Cinemablend's Katey Rich, IFC's Matt Singer and myself ventured out into the cold, dark Gotham dawn to see a new movie that was not screened for critics: Amanda Seyfried's Gone. The new thriller about a young woman (Seyfried) desperately searching for her kidnapped sister is a very bad movie. So bad, in fact, that Katey, Matt and myself just had to do an impromptu Obsessive Chat about the awfulness of Gone. (Spoiler alert, obviously.)
Mike: OK, the first thing about Gone that I have to mention is that Amanda Seyfried, as the film opens, was a kidnapping victim. But no one, including the police, believe her. Even though about a dozen girls in the area, about her age, are missing. Not only do they think she's lying, they institutionalize her.
Katey: That's a good point-- you'd think among the families of all those victims, one of them might be willing to go along with her.
Mike: The police actually roll their eyes at her when she tells them that her sister is now missing.
Katey: Well, let's be real-- if you had the character Amanda Seyfried plays in this movie in your life, wouldn't you roll your eyes at her? She points her gun at almost everyone she encounters, and that's after lying to them.
Matt: In fairness, there was no physical evidence found on Jill that she was kidnapped. Even though there clearly would be, once we see what actually happened to her.
Mike: She stabs a man with a femur.
Matt: No evidence.
Katey: I think this is a story about the world's worst police force-- people of Portland, watch your backs. And witnesses are handily scattered around town, knowing everything about the perp in question.
Matt: Well you say people in Portland should watch their backs, Katey. But really, I'd feel very safe in Portland, since everyone seems to know each other, and everyone is extremely helpful, like the guy in the hardware store.
Mike: While searching for her sister, Seyfried asks a man at a hardware store about a $7.00 purchase -- and he remembered the year, make, model and license plate number of the guy who made that purchase.
Matt: He also remembers where the guy lives. While he was buying his $7.00 purchase -- WHICH WAS ALL THINGS USED TO KIDNAP PEOPLE.
Mike: The only thing missing was a bottle of "Mickeys"
Matt He pointed out his car, the make, the model, then offered that he was evicted from his home. And told him where that home was. The killer is one chatty Kathy.
Mike: Which leads to another guy: random guy skateboarding down the street. He may have been even more helpful than the hardware store owner.
Matt: Well, look. I know when I'm looking for a relative of mine that disappeared and I randomly stop and ask a skateboarder on the street, they ALWAYS know exactly who I'm looking for. So I bought that.
Mike: "Do you know someone who drives a burgundy car?" "Oh, that's Jim Lapont. Also: Jim has 'rapey eyes'. FYI." He actually offers that piece of trivia: The guy you're looking for has "rapey eyes." And "rapey eyes" actually turns out to be the bad guy.
Katey: So these cops are kind of right not to be doing any work-- you can tell who killers are just by looking in their eyes.
Matt: Here's my complaint about the whole thing -- if you're gonna describe a guy as having "rapey eyes" at least let me get a good look at them!
Matt: We never even really get to see the rapey eyes! Which I counted as a major disappointment.
Mike: And now they've been burnt, so we will never know.
Matt: I guess in the end you learn all of that was on purpose; the killer was leaving all these clues to lure Seyfried into a trap. A poorly conceived, more poorly executed trap.
Katey: So... turns out all the red herrings in this movie aren't even red herrings; they're just random people thrown into the movie who don't actually serve a purpose. Including King Red Herring, Wes Bentley, who has "killer" written all over him... until he just isn't.
Mike: So, Matt, what are your thoughts on Wes Bentley?
Matt: My thoughts are something happened to the character in the editing room. Because as he exists in the final film, he has absolutely no reason to exist. He's established as "the new cop in town" and as the only guy who believes crazy Amanda Seyfried's story. Which leads you to believe that either a) he's the killer or b) he's going to save her. In fact, he does neither.
Mike: And there are many, many scenes of him digging through her files.
Matt: Instead he vanishes during the third act completely.
Mike: Well, he has an excuse.
Matt: Right, according to one of his co-workers, he has to go home to make his mother some soup. Sounds like a classic bullshit excuse: The old pretend-I'm-not-the-killer-by-making-my-mom-some-chowder routine. If I've heard it once I've heard it a million times! But NO! Wes Bentley is not the killer! He's not anything!
Mike: And, as an audience, we're thinking, "Ah, he's actually the killer or he's trailing Seyfried to save the day in the end."
Matt: He shows up in the epilogue having played absolutely no role in anything. Apparently, he really did go to make his mom soup.
Katey: Your theory that something happened to him in the editing room is almost disappointing, because I want to get inside the head of a director and/or writer who actually intended that.
Mike: He was ACTUALLY MAKING HIS MOTHER SOME SOUP! He took the day off from work to do this.
Matt: "Detective Hood, there's something here you need to take a look at." "NOT NOW!" "WHAT DID I TELL YOU? THIS IS THE TIME I MAKE MOM HER SOUP!" "IT'S VEGETABLE MEDLEY DAY!" "C'MON!"
Mike: She needs soup!
Katey: This kidnapped girl can wait! Or, really, this crazy girl wielding a gun can wait!
Matt: "SHE CAN'T JUST HEAT UP THE CANNED STUFF!" "SHE NEEDS FROM SCRATCH!"
Mike: But there may be a killer on the loose. And Amanda Seyfried is running around town with a gun!
Matt: "SO I HAVE TO BOIL THE BONES, IT'S A WHOLE DAY PROCESS!" "AH SHE'S PROBABLY CRAZY ANYWAY!" "MY MOTHER NEEDS HER SOUP!"
Katey: Let's watch that movie about Wes Bentley's bold efforts to make his mom soup
Matt: The mystery surrounding the soup is unquestionably far more involving than the mystery surrounding Seyfried's sister.
Mike: I have a theory that "while he's making soup" he actually kidnapped Rachel Nichols in P2.
Katey: A ha! It's a spinoff!
Mike: So, the events in P2 take place during the events of Gone.
Matt:P2 2: GONE? P2 2? P3? P2.1?
Katey: I was just completely stunned that the killer, in the end, turned out to be some guy we'd never seen before.
Mike: No, no... he gave her a large tip at the beginning.
Katey: And as we all know, psychopaths are excellent tippers.
Mike: We have to discuss the killer's trap. Which consisted of telling Amanda Seyfried over the phone, "I'm in the woods and will probably kill you. Drive to me and I will do that." And she does. Like, really intense and specific directions.
Katey: I know it's not fair to blame the victim in these circumstances, but really, she was asking for it.
Matt: He also conveniently points out the road that leads "back to civilization" without adding "but you won't need it because I'm totes gonna kill you."
Mike: And then the killer tells her there's no cell phone coverage. As they talk on a cell phone.
Katey: And he's there waiting for her! That was the part where I knew it was Wes Bentley over at the police station, luring her into a ditch or something. But...no. The killer just has magic cell phone service. I wonder which carrier he uses.
Mike: Nope, Wes was still on a soup run.
Matt: If in the last scene, when Seyfried returns home to find the sister, Wes Bentley had been standing there eating soup -- I would feel comfortable calling this the best movie of all time. But he didn't, so I can't.
Katey: That really might be the biggest disappointment.
Mike: Or if he sarcastically said, "Hey, my mom's going to be OK because of the soup. Thanks for asking."
Matt: Even despite the hilarity of the soup, it's one of the least satisfying and most anti-climatic endings I've seen in a while. It takes her like 20 minutes to drive to this hole while she has this inane conversation with the killer. Then their fight is over in a matter of seconds.
Mike: Well, because she has a gun and she just shoots him. It was like a very unfunny version of the swordsman scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The whole movie, actually: all of this nonsense, then a two second scene where she shoots the killer.
Katey: I want to re-watch this movie as a response to Indiana Jones.
Matt: I thought of it more as a Scooby-Doo movie without the wiseacre dog. The killer at the end essentially says to her, "Yeah you weren't crazy -- and I would've gotten away with it too if it wasn't for you, you meddling kid!" (I'm paraphrasing)
Katey: But not much.
Mike: Only by adding, "Now, having said that, will you drive over to my hideout so that I can kill you?"
Katey: And he looks so sad while she kills him-- as if, you might say, he wasn't the real killer, and Wes Bentley was.
Mike: The movie should have ended on a crazy looking Wes Bentley eating a bowl of soup, laughing to himself. Just so Singer could have declared it the best movie ever made.
Katey: And then in the coda, she sends the photos she found of all the kidnapped girls-- who the cops still aren't looking for???-- and a map to the hole. So she reopens the case? To find a killer she killed already?
Matt: Well I guess she wants the cops to at least find their remains. Their charred, hideously disfigured remains that she destroyed in her batshit crazy quest for justice As one does in these situations.
Mike: I think we've discussed this movie long enough.
Matt: Is it weird that I'm hungry for soup now. I want some soup.
Katey: Alright, I'm going to make lunch. Not soup, sadly
Matt: Well then clearly you're the killer. If you're not off making soup, then you're guilty. That's what I've learned.
Katey: Wes Bentley, it turns out, is a saint!
Mike: He cared deeply about his mother. Being new on the force, I bet he didn't even have any vacation or sick days saved up yet. He may have been docked pay for that.
Matt: He's more committed to his mother than his job! He's lost several promotions because he's so committed to his mom and her all-soup diet. He moves around a lot, from police department to police department, looking for a place where he can protect and serve and serve soup as well. Finally, he's found a happy home.
Katey Rich is the editor-in-chief of Cinemablend.com. You can follow her on Twitter.
Matt Singer has contributed to IFC, Sundance Channel and Time Out New York. You can contact him directly on Twitter.
Mike Ryan is the senior writer for Moviefone. He has written for Wired Magazine, VanityFair.com, GQ.com, New York Magazine and Movieline. He likes Star Wars a lot. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter