johnlink ranks ABANDON (2002)

Interrupting my classics month for something a little more modern. I was ranking some stuff on IMDB and noticed that I gave a score of  ‘9’ to ABANDON. I was sure this was due to my infatuation with Katie Holmes when I ranked it (back in ’02), so I decided to rewatch it in an effort to fix said ranking. SPOILERS BELOW

This is a movie about a girl (Katie Holmes) trying to finish her thesis while a detective (Benjamin Bratt) attempts to track down her missing ex-boyfriend.

I watched ABANDON (2002) on 9.24.09. It was my second viewing of the film.

NOTE: THIS RANKING UTILIZES THIS SITE’S ORIGINAL SYSTEMIC ARTICLE WRITING METHOD. THE METHOD BY WHICH THE RANKINGS WERE ARRIVED AT, HOWEVER, REMAIN THE SAME.

FILM

This is directed by Stephan Gaghan, who has exactly one other directing credit: SYRIANA. This is a guy who was involved in writing TRAFFIC. Not exactly the pedigree you’d expect for what is considered a standard PG-13 teen-suspense flick. Only, ABANDON isn’t quite what it seems. I think part of the reason it did poorly (and was reviewed poorly) is that the studio treated it as a Katie Holmes angst vehicle, rather than promoting it as a heady mystery. It wouldn’t have hurt to let this one go out and have an R Rating. It needed more of an edge.

This film is not spectacular. It tries a little too hard to be moody sometimes. There are some drastic fluctuations in the color palate depending on the mood of the scene, and the dorm hall they all live in feels more like a high school locker room than a living space, sometimes. That said, this is a movie which allows itself to play out. The characters affect the action more so than the action affecting the characters, which is nice. This, truly, is a well shot (though not excellent) film. SCORE: 6

MOVIE

Plods along a little too much. This runs right around 100 minutes, and could stand to be more like 90. I respect the film for lingering on some shots, it is not the composition of shots or the sequence in which they are edited, or anything technical like that. There just seem to be some scenes more concerned with making sure we are following along rather than trusting us to go with it. SCORE: 5

ACTING

Katie Holmes does her thing in this, it is cute, though nothing amazing. She had a ton of potential before Tom Cruise came along. Sigh.

Benjamin Bratt is okay. He mopes around trying to solve this mystery for Katie (the actor and the character have the same name). My real problem is that the only reason we know all men love Katie is because a character says so, and we see some guys following her around. I felt very little chemistry.

Probably the best part of this movie, in terms of performance, is a young and unknown Zooey Deschanel as Katie’s roommate. She brings energy and some comedy to an otherwise unstimulating film. SCORE: 5

WRITING

I see why Katie Holmes picked this movie. I feel like she had a good eye for stuff which studios later would hack to shit. DISTURBING BEHAVIOR, this, TEACHING MRS. TINGLE (though I haven’t watched that one in awhile). The only one she really got to let loose in was PIECES OF APRIL, which is an underrated film.

Anyway, the writer/director does a good job of setting up this story. I do feel that the ending is a little contrived, but I can go with it because the pieces were there to set it up. It doesn’t come out of nowhere. I vaguely remembered this movie from seven years ago when I popped it in. I did remember the ending. So, I was glad that watching the film a second time provided clear clues to how it would end. SCORE: 6

FINAL TALLY

FILM: 6; MOVIE: 5; ACTING: 5; WRITING: 6

6+5+5+6+0=22

FINAL SCORE: 5.5 (or decidedly lower than the ‘9’ I gave it when I was in love with Katie Holmes).

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~ by johnlink00 on September 24, 2009.

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