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A satisfyingly dark, but predictable, psychological thriller
on 26 February 2006
I tend to be rather forgiving of this kind of suspenseful thriller, even one as predictable as this one. Abandon basically tries to accomplish what a number of other recent films have already accomplished, and that growing audience familiarity with this genre deprives Abandon of some of the shock value it might otherwise have had. It may well pack a real punch to those who don't see the climax coming, and I think it plays rather well even to those who won't be surprised in the least, but some viewers will undoubtedly judge the film forgettable.
I'm not Katie Holmes' biggest fan, and I was prepared to be unimpressed after her first few scenes, but she gradually seemed to grow into her character, and in the end I was fairly impressed by her performance. The dark and mysterious atmosphere of the film was also a plus. Since the story held no ultimate surprise for me, the acting and atmosphere pretty much took on the responsibility of holding my attention. A couple of reasonably creepy scenes definitely scored this film some extra points on my scorecard.
Katie Burke (Katie Holmes) seems to be all set for success. Sure, she's having a little trouble finishing her thesis, but she's smart, meticulously organized, and a big hit at job interviews with high-paying companies. Then the past starts to catch up with her, and everything starts to unravel. A couple of years ago, she dated this incredibly pompous nonconformist (in all things, definitely including hairstyle) who thrived on showing up everyone around him in a desperate bid for attention. Ol' Embry (Charlie Hunnam) up and disappeared a few weeks before graduating, though, and he hasn't been heard from since. The guy inherited gobs of money, though, so the cops are still actively working the case. That's where Detective Wade Handler (Benjamin Bratt) comes in, as he is assigned to work the two-year-old case upon his return to active duty (following some personal problems with substance abuse). What if Embry suddenly returns? All Katie needs is a little more stress in her life. And is it her fault that men seem to keep falling in love with her?
Abandoned turned out to be a pretty good psychological thriller that succeeds in maintaining a dark and menacing atmosphere throughout. I don't think its transitions between past, present, and future are handled all that smoothly, but the pathway toward the climax is a veritable funnel of emotional intensity. It's too predictable to be great, but Abandon is more than capable of commanding your attention throughout.