This week’s Angel Eyes Much Ado About Nothing Award goes to Stephen Gaghan’s feature film debut Abandon. Catherine Burke (Katie Holmes) is a bionic typist about to graduate from college. Two years after her drama queen boyfriend (Charlie Hunnam) disappeared off the face of the earth, an ex-alcoholic detective, Wade Handler (Benjamin Bratt), is sent in to get some leads. Once Wade starts asking Catherine too many questions, Embry (Hunnam) inexplicably makes his reappearance. When the heat is on, Catherine’s abandonment issues intensify (see the Don’t Look Now flashback sequences). In burying elements of theater study (Emby was fond of “non-traditional space”), existentialism and behavioral psychology below a dozen different shades of blue, Gaghan draws attention away from the fact that there’s a trick pony at play here. The drawback, though, is that the film’s characters remain ciphers. Though Gaghan sustains a remarkable sense of weirdness for the film’s entire running time, Abandon still feels as if it lacks a kind of internal momentum. It’s evident that Gaghan had to sacrifice a thought or two in trying to deliver a Hollywood product but the losses are more or less made up by Melanie Lynskey’s delirious performance as the creepy library girl who’s got Catherine’s number.
- Stephen Gaghan
- Stephen Gaghan
- Katie Holmes, Benjamin Bratt, Charlie Hunnam, Melanie Lynskey, Zooey Deschanel, Gabrielle Union, Gabriel Mann, Will McCormack, Fred Ward
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