Gone ★★★

This lean, effective, fast-paced, moderately intense psychological thriller manages to feel less familiar than it actually is, largely thanks to the adroit direction by Mattias Olsson (who also wrote the screenplay) and Henrik JP Åkesson. The film benefits from its generally realistic tone, but it contains a few glaringly contrived moments and requires some suspension of disbelief on the part of the viewer. The simple, straightforward story is what it is and doesn’t waste any time on unnecessary subplots or superfluous exposition.

"Gone" opens with a sequence that has a vague sense of dread about it, and soon thereafter the movie kicks into gear as the filmmakers’ efforts to build suspense start to pay off really well. In what is arguably the most chilling scene in the film, the perpetrator talks with someone on the phone and one suddenly realizes that he has a wife and kids. While the final confrontation between the protagonist and the antagonist plays out pretty much as expected, a brief phone conversation adds a bittersweet tinge to the outcome.

The technical aspects of "Gone" are strong. Erik Molberg Hansen’s lensing helps make the forest an appropriately threatening place in its own right, and the cinematography is consistently crisp. Not surprisingly, considering the involvement of two-time Academy Award–winning sound editor Per Hallberg in the project, the sound editing is very good, with the skillful inclusion of atmospheric ambient sounds being particularly noteworthy.

Sofia Ledarp delivers a solid performance as Malin, believably conveying the terror of the situation her character finds herself in. Kjell Bergqvist gets to show his range as an actor and is almost frighteningly convincing as a psychopath (no, I don’t consider that information to be a spoiler, because the perpetrator’s identity is revealed fairly early in the proceedings and has virtually no bearing on the plot). Judging by his ineffectual work here, Björn Kjellman seems to be out of his depth in a role that doesn’t align properly with the actor’s thespian abilities.