Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Come and Find Me: Aaron Paul Loses his Girlfriend

He would be the logical suspect when his girlfriend disappears, but not even Nancy Grace would suspect this mild mannered graphic designer. More than a year later, the distraught David still has not moved on. However, he starts to suspect a larger conspiracy is afoot in Zack Whedon’s Come and Find Me (trailer here), which opens this Friday in New York.

If Claire had simply left a note: “popped out for rugelach and fishing tackle,” it could have spared David a lot of angst. Instead, he is left to wonder if he did something to make her flee. After a year of posting flyers, David is pretty much a hopeless wreck, until Claire’s old college friend Jackson crashes for a day. Returning home early, David finds his guest ransacking the apartment looking for something. When he comes to, he has the sense to check Claire’s flower garden, finding a roll of undeveloped film.

Most of the pictures look rather innocent, but they will lead him to several suspicious businesses. The first is apparently a front for the Russian mob and the second is a venture capital firm in Vancouver. Fortunately, he does not have any trouble carrying the piece he picked up along the way on the train to the British Columbian capital, which is good to know for future reference.

Zack Whedon (of the screenwriting Whedon clan) definitely channels fugitive-style Hitchcock and cynical 1970s paranoia into a surprisingly slick thriller. At first, his constant flashbacks to David’s happier days with Claire (if indeed that is her name) feel manipulative, but they start to pay-off as they reveal possible clues to who and what she really was.

It still remains unclear why the industry is so determined to make Aaron Paul a leading man, but his underwhelming average dude screen presence actually fits David quite well. We can definitely believe it when he gets disrespected, intimidated, and beat-up. Consequently, we can also understand why he is so hung-up on Claire, especially given the appealing give-and-take of his scenes with Annabelle Wallis. Garret Dillahunt also adds a further spark as John Hall, the tough talking mystery agent.

Although CAFM would not be described as excessively complex, Whedon manages to maintain an impressive atmosphere of mystery and anxiety. The running time of one hundred twelve minutes is still pushing it, but he almost gets away with it. It is definitely a B-movie, but it is a pretty good B-movie. Recommended as an expectation-beating alternative amid this week’s decidedly odd mix of new releases, Come and Find Me opens in New York this Friday (11/11), at the AMC Empire in Midtown and the Cinema Village downtown.