Saturday, January 9, 2016

ABANDON (2002)

Written & Directed By: Stephen Gaghan 
Cinematography By: Matthew Labitque 
Editor: Mark Warner 

Cast: Katie Holmes, Benjamin Bratt, Zooey Deschanel, Charlie Hunnam, Fred Ward, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Feuerstein, Philip Bosco, Gabrielle Union, Tony Goldwyn, Will McCormack

A senior at an elite college, already under severe pressure to complete her thesis and land a prestigious job, must confront the sudden reappearance of her old boyfriend, after his two year, unexplained absence...

The screenplay was suggested by the book "Adam's Fall" by Sean Desmond.

This film makes no sense and feels like instead of adding to the story with all the details exposed hopefully building characters and their motivations. It ends up just providing filler to pad the running time. Also to include scenes that are thrilling but in the end are red herrings and end up not having much to do with the ending or truth of the case.

So, it is hard to to go into this movie with a logical sense of mind. Because you will be struck stupid by this films ridiculous logic that it presents as basic logic.

This is a thriller about a genius who goes missing and the recovering alcoholic detective assigned to the case. Who finds himself falling for the missing guy's girlfriend and she for him as we watch how friends and colleagues react to his continued disappearance.

Katie Holmes breezes through this role with a hallowed eyed coldness. Which would normally make her character the number one suspect in his disappearance. If not for also in most cases of a disappearance the romantic interest is usually the first suspected. Though one of the last films that really sold her as the lead star. During her hot streak of becoming the next ingénue. After TEACHING MRS. TINGLE

Benjamin Bratt seems at that point in his career to play the same type of dark cop role. Though usually he does it with more charisma and style. Here he hair stays downtrodden.

Zooey Deschanel. Only seems to be here to be the wisecracking sardonic friend. Though she is better the the material. Which she seems to know as she doesn't even seem to put up much effort into her performance. She seems like more hanging on the set and the camera just happens to point to her and asked to do something.

This move is a time waster. It feels like it would feel at home on the lifetime channel. Other then the language their is nothing risqué. It's a disappointment only if you have some kind of hope for it. Though written and directed by Oscar winner writer Stephan Gaghan (who won for the movie TRAFFIC. Itself a remake of a British mini-series. Which reinforces this being a perfect TV-movie. He just reversed the Process here, but hey as writers. We all think we know what will see it what we think the audience wants or old scripts written. That now that they have clout. Want to push to make or sell.

Now keep in mind he is an Oscar winning SCREENWRITER. So his missteps as a first time director are obvious, but can be forgiven. He went for Alfred Hitchcock and ended up with a thrilling Melissa Gilbert type thriller. Then again maybe be knew his first time at bat would be disappointing and saw this a bigger budgeted practice film.


The film acts like we are supposed to be shocked when it is revealed that she killed her boyfriend out of revenge. Since he found her to be more of a sex buddy, then a relationship which she thought they were in and devoted her life to him. As he was ready to move on and by extension make her a laughing stock. So we are supposed to be shocked that the good girl went bad. Though throughout all evidence seems to point to her. Think of it as an unsexy and non thrilling BASIC INSTINCT. The film then has her kill the detective to show just how cold blooded she is. Especially when anyone gets caught in her romantic spider web. As since he knows the truth he can always hold it over her head and she can never truly be in the clear. So he must die even if they supposedly are in love and can accept each other's past and weaknesses.

It is the only really memorable part of the film. Though even that seems contrived, more coming up as they painted themselves into a corner and needed a powerful ending. So that it still feels a bit contrived even if it is a nice breath of fresh air in this by the books thriller.

If anything it makes the film upon repeat viewing. Seem like an interesting character study about a woman pushed to the brink psychologically and can’t handle being rejected after finally feeling special. The pressure becomes too much and she snaps as she finds a way to make herself sane and take care of her problems. Then could find happiness, but has to eliminate all who could infiltrate her. Who must live with what she has done, but can now find peace of mind ,for now


Skip it


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