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The Films of Stephen Gaghan

Abandon (January 2/07)

Abandon, the directorial debut of noted screenwriter Stephen Gaghan, casts Katie Holmes as Katie Burke - a frazzled college student who must deal with the return of a former love (Charlie Hunnam), as well as an alcoholic cop's (Benjamin Bratt) investigation into said boyfriend's disappearance two years earlier. There's little doubt that Gaghan is aiming for a sort '70s-paranoia-thriller vibe, and on that level, the filmmaker generally succeeds (ie are the events in the movie actually happening or are they all in Katie's head?) That being said, Gaghan's choice to infuse the film with an egregiously deliberate pace is lamentable; it's virtually impossible not to wish that Gaghan would just get on with it already, but he instead stubbornly focuses on Katie's various academic and personal struggles (who cares, though?) Gaghan's sporadically intriguing directorial choices are intriguing (if occasionally a little too showy), while his dialogue tends to lean more towards the pompous than anything else. The film's final twist is admittedly quite effective, though it doesn't even remotely justify the interminable build-up leading into it.

out of

Syriana

Gold

© David Nusair