To be honest, the reason this movie seemed interesting was not its unoriginal premise (guy’s girlfriend goes missing and he discovers she’s not who he thought she was) but its lead actor. I’ve loved Aaron Paul since his Breaking Bad days, and, much like I usually stay away from movies starring actors I dislike, I will watch pretty much anything featuring my favorite TV/movie stars.
The film itself wasn’t bad, but it left much to be desired. For one thing, it couldn’t seem to make up its mind about what genre it wanted to be classified as; the plot line was a half-decent action-thriller/mystery; the actual bulk of the movie was a straight-up love story, which was a problem in an of itself.
Let’s tackle the love story angle first: it doesn’t really work. For one thing, 95% of what we know about Claire, the mysterious girlfriend who suddenly disappears without a trace, is related through flashbacks that are David’s own memories of her, thus not entirely reliable, or at least more of a romanticized version of their relationship. For another, there’s no real chemistry between the two, nor any plausible explanation for how they came together in the first place; sure, a hot quirky girl might be easy to fall for, but what attracted Claire to David in the first place is a bit of a confusing plot point (given her true identity) that is never developed to a satisfactory degree.
Both these points might have been easier to overlook had it not been the central focus of the story, as it is used as a device to not only explain David’s refusal to give up his search for Claire (unlike her previous squeeze, who is basically the complete opposite of David in every respect, making the central romance even more implausible), but to inter-cut the action way too often, without really offering any clues that might connect the flashback scenes to what’s going on in the actual time line.
The flashbacks’ one saving grace is the movie’s opening scene, which may be just a callback to the way the two lovers first met, or might even have become part of their ritual to spice up their love life – we’re not exactly sure, and it doesn’t really matter. It’s a nice way to introduce the two characters, and a cute scene overall.
The thriller part of the movie is not half-bad. It does suffer from pacing, as it is pretty slow in the beginning and what tension it does succeed in building later is canceled out by the constant flashback interruptions. We don’t get enough explanation for the (few) clues David uncovers, nor do we delve deeper in their significance other than they’re plot devices to kick this entire chase into action. Every character David interacts with is conveniently (for the plot, not poor David himself) revealed to be a villain; none of them are connected in any logical way other than that the plot requires them all to be looking for Claire. We don’t even know what they did or why they’re after the single piece of evidence David has uncovered, which reveals nothing to the audience. It’s hard to root for the protagonist when we don’t know what and who exactly we’re rooting against.
As for David himself, I like the choice of Aaron Paul as an everyman; however, much of his performance is so reminiscent of his BB days that it’s hard to imagine him as anything other than the guy with good intentions who’s in way over his head and whose futile attempts at pursuing his little investigation and foiling his enemies are simply not up to par. Remind you of anyone? That’s right; Jesse Pinkman couldn’t get his ass out of a bind without criminal mastermind Walter White, and David simply can’t outsmart Russian gangsters and government agents without being bailed out by Claire. The fact that he still looks and talks like the meth-dealing kid we all know and love is even more frustrating, mainly because it makes him and (what we know about) Claire pretty much incompatible.
The frustrating pace becomes even more evident as we approach the climax and the ambiguous ending; once again, the action is slowed down by the constant flashbacks. Even though the movie tried to at least suggest that Claire might be leading a double life during the initial flashbacks, her disappearance and the fact that she stayed off the grid for over a year clearly point to her dedication to her job, rather than to David, especially given how little character development she gets throughout the film. So why wait until the final scenes to make her a bit more sympathetic? More importantly, why introduce what could be an important plot point seconds before the titles roll?
If we’re to believe that she might have been – even casually – considering just running away from it all, why is this the first time we hear of it? I don’t reject unhappy or ambiguous endings on principle, but there needs to be at least some kind of payoff to make them worthwhile and make them at least partially satisfactory; in this case, everything David has been through since the beginning has been for nothing, and we can’t really feel disappointed that the star-crossed (…) lovers don’t end up fulfilling their wishful thinking about leaving everything behind and riding off into the sunset together because we’re barely given the time to consider the possibility.
Still, despite its faults, Come And Find Me was an enjoyable little thriller. Aaron Paul carries the entire film basically on the merit of his extreme likability, and that alone is a redeeming quality for any BB fan.