Loosely based on the book “Adam’s Fall” by Sean Desmond, the film revolves around Catherine ‘Katie’ Burke (Katie Holmes), a college senior who’s having a tough time keeping herself focused. She is still struggling with memories of her boyfriend Embry Larkin (Charlie Hunnam), who disappeared two years earlier. Her past comes back to haunt her when recovering alcoholic detective Wade Handler (Benjamin Bratt) is assigned to Embry’s case. As Katie struggles to finish her thesis and land a job with a prestigious firm in the city, she must contend with the reappearance of Embry, who seems intent on destroying her life. As her relationship with Wade begins to flourish her own demons come to the surface and soon we realize that Katie is not who we think she is and that Embry’s reappearance may have more meaning than we could ever imagine.
I admit I wasn’t expecting much when I first set out to watch “Abandon,” considered the poor reviews I had read about it. However, I liked this film and I think that the matter is that it was marketed as a non-stop psychological thriller, but “Abandon” is more a character study with the atmosphere of a thriller. Its main priority is to tell a story and I think audiences were disappointed when they saw a film that was a bit short on thrills.
Whatever may be the pretentions which the creators may or may not have possessed, it is a small film, itself unpretentious, and well within the parameters of the genre of small films (often called ‘B-movies’). “Abandon” is not a masterpiece, but the performers did what there was to do while script and director kept things moving with only a moderate degree of unnecessary repetition of the main story points.
It portrayed teenagers and college students in a far more subdued manner than normal and didn’t animate any characters to the point of stupidity. Almost everyone in is disconnected in some way and have feelings that do not show.
The film follows a very dark and ominous tone, everything done in dark color schemes, voice’s low and images grainy, and that adds to the mystery bound to be unlocked. The dialogue featured in this film is realistic and well thought out. There were excellent atmospheric touches, and enough psychological ambiguity to allow me to figure out what was really going on before the ending, but this didn’t make the film predictable, it made it clever. And the title is a good one, extremely telling, a clue in itself.
Themes of abandonment, love, obsession, mental sickness, repression, guilt are all beautifully put together in the film. “Abandon” could actually be called a quasi-tragedy and in the end, one comes away with a sadness, with a sympathy for the protagonist.