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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Abandon (review)

Traffic screenwriter Stephen Gaghan, in his directorial debut, demonstrates how poor execution can doom a pretty good script… his own pretty good script. His suspense drama of an overburdened, emotionally fragile college senior, her missing boyfriend, and the anguished cop who’s trying to find him probably sounded a lot more shrewd and perhaps even profound on the page. In translating it to the screen, though, Gaghan gives in to Hollywood slickness, smoothing over what should be pleasingly rough edges with a glossy, pinup cast: rosy Katie Holmes (The Gift) as the student, far too in bloom to be believably tormented; Charlie Hunnam as the boyfriend, who looks like a refugee from a boy band and acts about as well as one, too; Benjamin Bratt (Red Planet) as the cop, more robust than his character’s particular wretchedness should allow. Only the ever unrecognized Zooey Deschanel (The Good Girl), as Katie’s roommate, carves out her own engaging space in this otherwise tedious exercise in pretty pouting.

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MPAA: rated PG-13 for drug and alcohol content, sexuality, some violence and language

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb
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