UAE Review: Gone for Good

Dubai - French thriller Gone for Good explores a couple of situations where people are presumed dead after they go missing, but when the reality unfolds it gives a sucker punch of the unexpected French thriller


Sushmita Bose

Published: Thu 23 Sep 2021, 3:25 PM

It almost felt like I was existing (in reel life) “on loop”. Last week, it was Clickbait with its 8 episodes of differing perspectives trying to essay a Rashomon effect — to fairly telling effect. This week, I watched Gone for Good (original title: Disparu à Jamais) that tries a similar trick. Let me tell you why the latter scores better in the said technique. At five-episodes-long, this has better traction for attention grabbing feasibility. And, unlike Clickbait, that uses the multi-dimensional approach to further the story, Gone for Good reveals how each narrative — named after the five main characters — can be spectacularly different from the rest, and yet, in the end, come together for the denouement.

The other thing about Gone for Good is Harlan Coben — the man who’s written the thriller, and who is currently on a five-year deal with Netflix for 14 of his books to be developed into a series or a film (his credits include the fantastic Safe and the very watchable The Stranger, but one of his best adaptations pre-date OTT times: the César award-winning Tell No One).

The adapted screenplay is by David Elkaïm, but it manages to keep Coben’s edginess to a tee, while the subtitling (French to English) is very good.

Now, getting back to the story…

In Nice, 2010, there’s a murder of a young woman, Sonia (Garance Marillier); at the time of the murder, she was at her parents’ home with her elementary school-going (much) younger sister. Her body was found in the swimming pool, and a hooded man was last seen leaving the site. The alleged collateral damage was the about-to-leave-home elder brother of next door neighbour Guillaume (Finnegan Oldfield). Fred (Nicolas Duvauchelle), the brother, had rushed to the spot when he had heard angry voices, sustained gunshots himself, and later drowned (though the body was never found).

Guillaume had a history with the murdered woman, they were lovers at one point, so, effectively, he lost two people he loved in a matter of minutes.

Cut to present times. Guillaume is now dating Judith (Alysson Paradis), a woman he works with at a refugee rehabilitation centre, and is about to propose to her. Judith clearly has a mysterious past, because when she goes missing and a desperate Guillaume tries to track her down, he realises whatever Judith has told him about herself are lies, and that her name/identity is someone else’s. He also unearths a connection between the deaths of Sonia and Fred, and the disappearance of Judith. There’s a plan that had been set in motion linking all these events over a decade — what is it?

The best part is, you see — and hear — it from the points of view of all protagonists. Added perks: the French Riviera, a feast of art direction, and some pretty great acting chops. Not so good stuff include a somewhat tepid climax, and bits of rambles here and there — which could have been very easily avoided.

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