By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com November 18, 2011 at 10:58AM
When "Dear John" and "Letters to Juliet" proved sleeper hits last year, it looked like Amanda Seyfried might be on her way to becoming a pretty massive star, and arriving on the back of her starring role alongside Meryl Streep in musical smash "Mamma Mia," it all seemed to be coming up Seyfried. But the actress hasn't had such a good time of it lately. She's tried to step away from the romance genre with fairy tale flick "Red Riding Hood" and sci-fi "In Time," but neither performed especially well, suggesting that if she is a draw, the audiences aren't turning up to see her sight-unseen.
Next year will bring the starry rom-com "The Big Wedding," and a big test of her dramatic abilities in the porn biopic "Lovelace," but first up is "Gone," a thriller that she's carrying on her own, without a Tatum, a Timberlake or a fairy tale basis to help with the weight. Summit have just released a trailer, via Yahoo Movies, for the project from Brazilian helmer Heitor Dhalia ("Adrift"), and the question is: could it be a return to form for the actress, or another damp squib?
The plot involves Seyfried as Jill, who claims she was the survivor of a kidnapping by a serial killer. When her sister disappears, seemingly a victim of the same man, and the police are disbelieving, she takes matters into her own hands. The mood the clip seems to be going for appears to be a sort of female-driven "Taken" (particularly given the trailer's coda), but the vibe, partly thanks to a cheap digital look, is closer to a big-screen version of something from an obscure corner of the "Law & Order" franchise, with a more vigilante-happy streak.
It all looks very familiar and predictable on the surface, and maybe that's Summit's intention -- to bring in viewers who want something they're comfortable with -- but it's not likely to bring in more discerning viewers. And Seyfried, who we genuinely like, seems on far-from-top form, with a couple of line readings that, out of context at least, are unintentionally funny. The supporting cast includes Daniel Sunjata, Jennifer Carpenter and Michael Pare as the cops, Emily Wickersham as the sister, "Avatar" star Joel David Moore as some computer hacker type, and Wes Bentley as the prominently-billed-actor-hanging-around-the-background-who-definitely-won't-turn-out-to-be-the-bad-guy. We'll find out if we're being unfair to Seyfried & co. when the film opens on February 24th.