Stars: Aaron Paul, Annabelle Wallis, Garret Dillahunt, Enver Gjokaj, Dean Redman
Writer: Zack Whedon
Director: Zack Whedon
Distributor: Saban Films/Lionsgate
Release Date (theatrical and on demand): November 11, 2016
COME AND FIND ME is a curious title for this film. The more we know about the plot, the more we realize that it’s hardly something the missing Claire (Annabelle Wallis) would say to her distraught and determined boyfriend David (Aaron Paul).
After some fun character introductions showing the couple in playful mode, David wakes to find Claire gone from the house they share. At first, he’s not worried – maybe she went to work early. But when Claire is not at her workplace, doesn’t answer her phone and doesn’t return, David gets very worried. First, he does all the normal things someone would do when a loved one is missing. Then something happens that strongly indicates that, at minimum, Claire was involved in something very dangerous, and David begins a search for answers that may get him killed.
Director/writer Zack Whedon, in his feature debut, has a feel for Los Angeles that would do Harry Bosch proud. It’s wonderful L.A. sunlit noir, with a likewise enveloping change of scenery midfilm. He also has the ideal leading man in Paul, who is an expert at portraying ordinary guys grappling with extraordinary emotions. The supporting cast is also strong, with actors including Garret Dillahunt, Enver Gjokaj and Dean Redman.
The structure of COME AND FIND ME bounces between David’s investigations in the present and the happy past between him and Claire. Wallis has charm and is up to the role’s varied needs, but Claire is not a fully developed character. Even allowing for the fact that she’s got some secrets, she just isn’t given enough material and opinion for us to feel her absence the way David does, and that’s a problem.
There’s also the matter of the story’s McGuffin, a series of photos that are the focus of a lot of different people’s desires, and the source of the information that propels David on his quest. The investigative aspect of this is fun, but the payoff is minimal. Maybe David’s only concern is finding Claire, but we look at the pictures so many times that we want to know more about them than we get.
There are some good twists and bluffs in COME AND FIND ME, but the weight of the film is in David’s love for Claire. The fact that he’s much more defined than she is creates an imbalance, but Whedon still gives us a pretty good gumshoe story with plenty of atmosphere.
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