The head-scratching mystery thriller “Gone in the Night” barely keeps itself together before its stunningly disastrous conclusion thanks to the star power of co-stars Winona Ryder and Dermot Mulroney.
The rest of the drama doesn’t fare as well given how much of its plot, which is about a missing person who may or may not has been abducted, seems to have been designed to keep viewers at arm’s length and in the dark for as long as possible. The drama is about a missing person who may or may not have been abducted.
Once you learn that Eli Horowitz was the director of “Gone in the Night,” some of the film’s more unsettling qualities, particularly its unexpected and haphazard use of flashbacks to first tease and then fill in the gaps in viewers’ knowledge, make more sense.
Horowitz, who co-wrote “Gone in the Night” with Matthew Derby, also co-created the psychological thriller podcast “Homecoming,” which he transformed into a fascinating TV series with Micah Bloomberg and “Mr. Robot” show-runner Sam Esmail. “Gone in the Night” was written by Horowitz and Matthew Derby.
(In addition, Derby was credited as a writer on the podcast titled “Sandra” which was released in 2018) “Gone in the Night” has the feel of the directorial debut of a podcaster, someone who is aware of the value of narrative originality and has a talent for narrative economy, but who also suggests more by the grace of good casting than by their own singular talents. This can be seen as both a positive and a negative.
In the film “Gone in the Night,” Ryder plays the leading role and compels the audience to want to know what happens to her befuddled protagonist Kath. Kath, played by John Gallagher Jr., is engaged in a haphazard hunt for her boyfriend Max, who is portrayed by John Gallagher Jr. Soon after Max and Kath go on vacation to a remote cabin in Northern California, where they are ambushed by a mysterious pair, Al (Owen Teague), who is morose and aggressive, and Greta (Brianne Tju), who is horny (for Max) and provocative, Max goes missing shortly after their return home.
After the two couples have shared some uneasy small talk and even more uncomfortable ice breakers, Max and Greta decide to go their separate ways, and this forces Kath to leave without her boyfriend.
However, Max never comes back, which leads Kath to pursue her immature and disloyal partner despite the fact that she has no reason to do so. First, she makes an effort to get in touch with the cabin’s reclusive owner, Barlow (Mulroney). Barlow swiftly accompanies Kath in her search for Greta, and Greta, in turn, guides the two of them to the next story point, and so on.
When we first see flashbacks to a house party that took place immediately before Kath and Max’s disastrous trip to the cabin, the disappearance of Max raises a reasonably straightforward question, but each subsequent scene adds further layers of complication to the mystery by revealing new details.
Eventually, the relationship between Kath and Barlow will become the primary focus of the film, and this shift in the narrative will at the very least make it clear what kind of story Derby and Horowitz have decided to present.
The name “Barlow” makes me think of a specific character created by Stephen King. Barlow is the epitome of a Gen X fantasy in that he favors wearing flannel, is filthy rich, and avoids conversations about himself.
Max, on the other hand, is a walking poor faith argument against Millennials because he is hypersensitive, has hazy beliefs about authenticity and living in the moment, and wears apparel that is either antique or limited edition.
Kath is in a difficult position because she is torn between these two archetypes. On the one hand, she wants to know what happened to Max, but on the other hand, she is attracted to Barlow because he is rugged, beautiful, and modest.
Unfortuitously, the connection between Barlow and Kath is virtually as erratic as the neurotic flirtation that Max and Greta have been having. Horowitz confesses in the film’s press notes that it was a stroke of good luck that Ryder and Mulroney consented to star in “Gone in the Night,” since it appears that these two crucial characters were written with them in mind.
The roles were written with Ryder and Mulroney in mind. However, despite that remarkable casting achievement, Kath and Barlow only hold a limited amount of attention.
When Kath and Barlow embark on a stakeout to find Greta and confront her, you may get a sense of what the episode “Gone in the Dark” was lacking in terms of content.
They put on sunglasses and pass the time by chatting about what actually drives them, which is the fact that they are both out of gas and have made their manhunt into a fruitless search for the youth they lost. This kind of existential mid-life crisis might sound exciting, but the plot of the movie is still dependent on an uninspiring mystery involving Max, who is a grating supporting character.
Because of this, the stakeout that Kath and Barlow do feels like a welcome break in the middle of an otherwise quick but meaningless routine. The same thing can be stated about the flashbacks in the movie concerning Kath and Max’s lives before they went to the cabin.
Although they are well-mounted and effective, they don’t actually express much more than what the characters tell us.
The remaining portions of “Gone in the Night” are both unremarkable and out of the ordinary, which may cause some viewers to take notice. However, even the most devoted fans would probably be better off staying in their own automobiles and pondering the meaning of life than attending the game. Man.