Gone for Good review – Netflix finds a mysterious thread with this French-language thriller Harlan Coben strikes again

August 13, 2021
Michael Frank 0
Netflix, TV Reviews
3.5

Summary

Gone for Good finds its footing with a constant stream of surprises, good performances, and a twisting story worthy of its miniseries runtime.

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3.5

Summary

Gone for Good finds its footing with a constant stream of surprises, good performances, and a twisting story worthy of its miniseries runtime.

This review of the Netflix limited series Gone for Good does not contain spoilers.

Read the recap of the first episode. 

From creators David Elkaïm and Vincent Poymiro, Netflix’s Gone for Good keeps the Harlan Coben train chugging along. The fourth installment of the best-selling novelist’s deal with the streamer comes in the French language, set along the coast in Nice. Bouncing from decade to decade through a series of interconnected storylines and families, Gone for Good settles in 2010 and in present-day, discussing the implications and long-standing consequences of a double homicide.

Focused on Guillaume (Finnegan Oldfield), a 30-ish social worker who lost his brother and his ex-girlfriend a decade earlier, the series unravels itself through its investigation of each character’s past, with an episode dedicated to a certain person. Beginning with Guillaume and ending with his brother, Fred (the cool Nicolas Duvauchelle), these episodes balance the present with the past, showing how all of these little decisions led to these murders which have now led to everyone’s current situation. And for Guillaume, his current situation is dire.

The series begins with a funeral for his mother and the disappearance of his long-term girlfriend, Judith Conti (Nailia Harzoune). Guillaume, with the help of Inès (the sister of his now-dead ex played in dual roles by Garance Marillier) and social care manager Daco (Guillaume Gouix), attempts to track down his girlfriend, uncovering secrets from her and his family’s past. Gone for Good is built on these secrets, which come in bundles at the beginning and end of each episode. At times, the series becomes more confusing than coherent, though, as if the creators are waiting too long to deliver a bombshell, just to see how you’ll react.

With Oldfield leading the way, the cast (mostly) delivers, giving Harzoune, Marillier, Gouix, and Duvauchelle their own episodes to take the reins. Marillier and Oldfield have the most to weep over, with their shared grief becoming overwhelming yet a way for the two to bond in scenes weighed down by trauma. But Duvauchelle and Harzoune steal the scenes they inhabit, delivering on performances based in deceit. 

Most of these characters are connected through shared stress, irreparable damage that they can feel in one another. Gone for Good lacks the foundation to explore that theme, shaped by surprises, seeming like a one-trick series in its willingness to change your perception of a character from episode to episode based on new-to-light information. The larger questions regarding family, abuse, gender power dynamics, identity, and love crop up but little time is divested towards them. The creators instead opt to use that time to further a story that you realize will keep altering until its final moments. 

Regardless, Netflix’s Gone for Good remains entertaining, anchored to a story riddled with unforeseen twists. It’s a better mystery than it is a drama, and the more romantic scenes often feel forced by necessity, but it contains the thrills needed to sustain you through five episodes. And it’s encased in this short season of a show with no need for a second go-around, giving it a sense of finality that’s often missing in TV.

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