Come And Find Me endears in a very Charlie Countryman kind of way (if Shia’s flick was your thing), where love motivates a regular Joe to throw himself to the proverbial lions. Think Mr. And Mrs. Smith, except only the wife is an assassin, and the husband is nothing but urban camouflage (aka cover). Writer/Director Zack Whedon never loses the reality that his graphic-designing hero is in completely over his head, and makes a better thriller for it. It’s still very monotone and a bit predictable, but Whedon stays true to the foolish things love makes us do, from challenging mercenaries to investigating government conspiracies – even when you aren’t Jason Bourne.
Aaron Paul stars as David, a boyfriend who wakes up one morning to find his girlfriend Claire (Annabelle Wallis) missing. No note, no fight the night before, no suspected cheating – just an empty bed and no answers. David does his best to involve police, but after a year with no answers, hope begins to dim.
That’s when David gets a visit from one of Claire’s college friends, who ends up cold-clocking the still grieving boyfriend. David comes to, with the realization that more intricate schemes are at play. A roll of film retrieved from his garden leads David on a wild goose chase filled with back-door shadiness, drawing closer to the women he fell in love with. Whoever she is, she better be worth the life her jilted lover is willing to sacrifice.
David’s constant need to get his ass kicked becomes the most redeeming quality of Come And Find Me, simply from a logistical standpoint. Not in a masochistic way – like I’m harboring some secret vendetta against Aaron Paul – but because David always seems overmatched (and he should).
First he wanders into a Russian gangster meeting with no plan, then he gets disarmed in a matter of seconds by Garret Dillahunt’s agent – you get the picture. David doesn’t posses a particular set of skills, or any secret military training. He’s a desk-tethered computer guy who sticks his nose where it shouldn’t belong, all in the name of scream-it-from-the-mountain-tops love. It’s these homely charms that Whedon agreeably exploits, both as an underdog heroism arc and a source of tense entertainment.
That said, Come And Find Me isn’t exactly the most daring thriller around. You’ve all seen this Aaron Paul before. Pouty, always looks like his face is glued with a confused expression on his face. Annabelle Wallis brings life to Paul’s character whenever she’s present, which means he’s only wandering around emotionless for half the movie, turning over rocks and taking electric shocks to the body.
I rather like Wallis as a maybe-secret-agent/maybe-bubbly-artist – especially come David’s darkest moments – but Whedon meanders during his lengthy two-hour-ish run time. Over and over, David pieces together a puzzle that becomes obvious to a fault, yet Whedon still plays dumb for about twenty minutes too long.
In order to combat a feeling of drawn-out investigating, Whedon gets crafty by cutting between David’s current mission and sunny memories of his dearest Claire. One minute David can be laying in a pool of his own blood, the next he’s laying next to Claire, blissfully unaware of the adventure future-David will embark on. This allows for more emotional connectivity than some blurry flashbacks like in most generic thrillers, where David might gaze into the distance, cuing wavy lines that reach back in time. We’re instead guided through David’s memories, as he begins realizing some of Claire’s glaring slip-ups during their romantic relationship. Real-time cerebral recognition versus rigid flashbacks – a small decision that brings something just different enough into the fray.
In the basest sense, Zack Whedon’s feature debut displays a coherent ability to connect story, tension and performances in appealing fashion. That might sound like a backhanded compliment, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Come And Find Me is a fine-and-dandy missing persons thriller with a romantic twist, suitable for those whose Aaron Paul senses tingle upon reading the film’s synopsis. First-time features are anything but safe bets, so a cheers is in order for Whedon’s accomplishment – no matter how small.
Come And Find Me is a weird blend of Mr. And Mrs. Smith and Charlie Countryman that somehow works.