I went into Come And Find Me, the latest film from Zack Whedon, expecting an overdramatic weepy about lost love. Much to my surprise (and short-term delight), what I discovered was something far more thrilling. Unfortunately, the thrills wear thin before the credits begin to roll.
David (Aaron Paul) has a peculiar dilemma. After a seemingly perfect night with the love of his life, Claire (Annabelle Wallis), he wakes to discover his live-in girlfriend is gone. She didn’t leave a note or send a text, and none of her friends have any idea where she might have gone. David immediately goes to the police for help, but all they can offer is a missing person’s report and a stack of fliers urging the public to send in tips.
A year later, an old friend of Claire’s comes to visit. After a hard night of drinking and catching up on old times, the men get into a scuffle when David discovers the other man tearing up his home in search of something Claire allegedly hid before her disappearance. David has no idea what his girlfriend could possess that would drive someone to such lengths, but he soon discovers a roll of film buried in his garden that leads him to believe there may be more to Claire than she initially let on.
The mystery of Claire is a good one, and for a little while Come And Find Me seems to be setting up a kind of Gone Girl-like crime-thriller. David stops cooperating with police as soon as he can get the film developed, but every photograph is just another clue as to where Claire may or may not have gone. There is no rhyme or reason to the actions of the person David thought he knew better than anyone, and with each new piece of information he is tasked with accepting the fact that the woman he has been searching for may not be who he believes her to be. Even if she is, there is no guarantee she is alive or that she wants to see him.
How David decides which leads to follow is not something Zack Whedon believes we care about. Instead of helping us understand the mindset of a man who cannot resist the nagging desire to search for his missing girlfriend a year after her disappearance, Whedon chooses to splice glimpses of the couple’s relationship in between thrilling moments in the hunt for Claire. Some add weight to sequences that follow through with foreshadowing or metaphor, but the majority come and go with weak dialogue that does nothing to help the story. If anything, these sequences actually stall an otherwise slow-burn build toward the film’s violent climax.
Aaron Paul hasn’t found a ton of luck in his post-Breaking Bad roles, but Come And Find Me does serve as the best showcase of his talent since that popular series came to an end. David is the only interesting character in the entire film, and his struggle to stay focused while trying to keep his grief at bay plays right into Paul’s own skill set. There must be shots of his eyes brimming with tears every ten to fifteen minutes, and every time you believe they are real. It’s not enough to make you love the film, but it is enough to reaffirm Paul’s presence as a talent still very much on the rise in the modern entertainment landscape.