The Fall of House Butler
When you don’t have money, you have ideas. When we have no ideas either, we have Gerard Butler, always ready to help out in the role of the monolith who took himself for a monomyth, and who does not hesitate to endorse the cap of co-producer – after all, one is never better served than by oneself. This time, the good Gerard embarks on the footsteps of his wife, played by Jaimie Alexander (Blind spot), reported missing after a pee break at the gas station. And it is probably impossible to extend this pitch without giving it a greater magnitude than the entire scenario.
No deception on the merchandise, however adulterated it may be: we find the Butler in lower occiput protective modeincluding his expressiveness as a mussel in post-stroke remission, his love of herbal tea with gonadal extract and his metaphors redneck gasoline-based. This time he embodies neither a typical secret service agent The White House fall and its aftermath, nor a ruthless cop, and even less a muscular ephebe in a short skirt: he is an Everyman closer to his role in the not ashamed Greenlandcouple issues included.
The problem is that the formula here is reduced to its lowest common denominator: Gerard Butler is thesingle lightning rod of a rickety scenario. His hero has only one track to follow, the twists can be counted on the knuckles of half a finger and the introductory flashforward, next to which that of Mission: Impossible 3 passes for a masterpiece of finesse, is more an admission of helplessness than a tension enhancer.
This economy of effect could have made the film endearing if he exuded sincerity, but no actor makes you want to believe it. Neither Russell Hornsby as a suspicious cop, nor Ethan Embry in the role of the far too suspicious Knuckles, nor Cindy Hogan or Bruce Altman who play the parents have sufficient gasoline in the engine to generate a minimum of intensity.
300 shades of softness
With its scenario more drained than the Sahel, The Disappeared must shoot the film to counterfeit the duration of a feature film. On this level at least, it is a festival. Just the disappearance scene, literally the film’s trigger, is more dilated than a cocaine pupiltempting to play the card of a tragic irony that generates about as many palpitations as a drop of caffeine diluted to 15CH.
Then we are treated to long minutes of Gerard trying to compete with Rocky by bellowing the name of his Lisa, a story of take full advantage of her motor oil greased vocal chords. Mid Road, The Disappeared painfully reached the point where it should have started, if the film still took off… But between the conventional incredulity that lengthens the first interrogations, the useless lines viciously inserted right in the middle of dialogues mounted in boring shots and reverse shots, the artificial setbacks… the elastic of the investigation is so stretched that a tightrope walker could claim to break a world record.
“I’m Looking for Sonic’s Friend”
And when expanding the present is no longer enough, there is always the good old trick of flashbacks, all stemming from one and the same couple’s argument interspersed with awkward idyllic inserts. The Disappeared is halfway to meta artistic performance on the void and a rib steak which, stripped of its fat, would not satiate an anorexic rodent. At one backfiring WTF moment, the film is a trampled brainwave. Even when he attempts an alternate montage in his climax, he only manages, by following the arithmetic rule of multiplication by zero, to square its nothingness tenfold.
To top it all, The Disappeared shows up horribly chick in action. And since it’s not as if these scenes induced any technical investment here, we deduce that their rarity is due to a cruel shortage of extras ready to have their nasal bridges reshaped. Definitely, recruitment difficulties spare no one…
That Butler does not spend his time beating like a deaf man could have made sense with his character as an ordinary man, if it had been a bias or even an attempt to deconstruct his image of nag by a unfavorable balance of power. But no, the good Gerard will soon return to his comfortable posture of satisfied hero, revealing that the ordinary nature of his role was mainly an excellent excuse not to propose anything.
La Disparue is available on Amazon Prime Video since August 1, 2022