Aaron Paul possesses an innate everyman quality that lends itself well to Zack Whedon’s Come and Find Me, which is essentially a 21st-century update of the Hitchcockian framework of an ordinary individual caught up in extraordinary circumstances. Paul plays David, a modest graphic designer whose life is turned upside down after his long-term girlfriend, Claire (Annabelle Wallis), goes missing without a trace. After a year goes by, and seeking some sense of closure, David decides to investigate Claire’s disappearance and discovers that she works as a skilled agent and killer for a shadowy organization. Although masquerading as a spy thriller, this elliptical film unfolds as a shrewdly understated rumination on the grieving process.
As David’s search for Claire lands him in a series of routine situations and has him rub up against familiar types, Whedon shows that some of his pulp sensibilities are ultimately too unrefined to be effective. Encountering David are the seemingly obligatory Eastern European gangsters and the stock cocky government baddie (Garret Dillahunt) attempting to thwart him after he begins to dig too deep. But some of the vagueness concerning Claire’s double life works to effectively give Come and Fine Me a sustained sense of mystery: Because the film takes place entirely from David’s perspective and he doesn’t run into anyone who ever allows him to form a complete picture of Claire and her organization, his bewilderment throughout becomes our own.
Whedon’s empathy is such that he acknowledges how David’s melancholic feelings after Claire disappears are universal. After scanning a wall full of missing-persons posters at a police station, David discovers Charlie (Zachary Knighton), who, like David, Claire had dated and suddenly left—albeit while she was under a different identity. Although he states that he’s moved on, Charlie still becomes emotional when told stories about Claire’s life and unexpectedly confronted with her image. This scene anticipates the thematic resonance of the film’s finale, where David’s fear over a sustained series of gunfights and car chases with Claire’s organization is overpowered by the exhilarating prospect of closure. Even when someone isn’t who they seem, Whedon conveys that it’s hard to let go of old feelings.