Making the Grades
Halloween is just around the corner and movie promoters are scaring up some chilling tales for the season. In Abandon, Katie Holmes plays the part of Katie Burke, a meticulous and ardent business student at a prestigious university whose nerves are starting to fray. With graduation only weeks away, the pressure is building to complete her thesis, pass her final exams and secure a position with a major financial firm.
Turning to liquor and mood enhancing drugs at an extreme all-night party, the tense senior and her college friends Samantha (Zooey Deschanel), Amanda (Gabrielle Union) and August (Will McCormack) try to find relief from the mounting stress. But unsettling nightmares and the distinct feeling she is being followed continue to haunt her even after she seeks help from the school's counselor (Tony Goldwyn).
However none of her eerie premonitions prepare her for the sudden reappearance of Embry (Charlie Hunnam), her old boyfriend who vanished two years earlier.
Startled by his return, Katie wants an explanation from her elusive former lover and she's not the only one. Returning to work after a suspension for substance abuse, Detective Wade Handler (Benjamin Bratt) is assigned to track down information on the unsolved disappearance, which becomes no easier to piece together after Katie announces Embry's return.
However the demand for some answers escalates when Katie's friend Harrison (Gabriel Mann) suddenly disappears and leaves everyone feeling uneasy. Sifting for clues in the rat-infested remains of a burnt out building, Handler uncovers some grisly evidence that points to a killer on campus.
Writer and director, Stephen Gaghan mixes terror with term papers in this psychological thriller set in the dark of night when most students should be sleeping or cramming for finals. Although the story offers a few good jump scenes and an unsuspected finale, content issues and thematic elements will likely put many parents on guard. Repeated sex scenes, alcohol and drug use, strong language and some brief but gruesome violence are subject matter that families might want to abandon in their viewing line up.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Abandon (2002).
How did the director depict the emotional state of Katie through her physical appearance? How do subtle details such as her hair add to the overall feel of her ability to cope with the stress of her situation?
What were the portrayals of unprofessional behavior in this film? What was the result of crossing over the lines of propriety? How important is personal conduct in the world of business?
Home Video Viewing Alternatives
Here are some ideas for home video titles that are related to Abandon (2002).
For another suspenseful thriller with unexpected appearances from a missing person, check out Kevin Coster in Dragonfly.