Katie Holmes stars in typical teen thriller

Allison Corneau

Katie Holmes has come a long way since her first days as Joey Potter on “Dawson’s Creek.” The 24-year-old actress plays a more sophisticated role in this month’s new suspense flick “Abandon,” directed by Stephen Gaghan, screenwriter of Academy Award winner “Traffic.”
Holmes’ psychological thriller has her in the role of Katie Burke, a high honors college senior who got herself mixed up with the wrong guy: boyfriend Embry Larkin, (Charlie Hunnam of Fox’s “Undeclared”). Now Burke is forced to make up for lost time.
Burke, working desperately to finish her senior thesis, is interrupted one day by Detective Wade Handler (Benjamin Bratt), searching the college campus for information about Larkin, who was reported missing two years earlier.
Rich kid Larkin disappeared three weeks before his graduation. Not much was done to find him as he had disappeared twice before, leaving nothing but his drama performance tapes in the school library as a reminder that he was ever a student there.
Burke, trying to rid herself of thoughts of her ex, keeps seeing glimpses of Larkin in her daily activities, even though he was reported missing. She can’t seem to escape him – at the library, in her dorm room or on the street.
Her visions become so disturbing that she seeks professional help from a college psychiatrist, who prescribes medicine that keeps Burke on edge in her attempts to avoid Larkin.
Her sightings of Larkin become maddening when she gets involved with another student, Harrison Hobart (Gabriel Mann of “The Bourne Identity,”) who has always had an eye for Burke but stayed at a distance in fear of Larkin’s jealous nature.
After Hobart professes his love for Burke, Larkin mysteriously appears to let Harrison know not to mess around with his ex-girlfriend.
Benjamin Bratt’s performance as Detective Handler is superior, adding to the drama when he becomes involved with Burke in the film, complicating both the search for Larkin and Burke’s studies.
Bratt should have gotten more in-depth exposure, rather than being portrayed as a typical burn-out, alcoholic cop tired of the daily grind.
Another interesting character is Julie (Melanie Lynskey of “Coyote Ugly,”) the quirky, quiet library aide, who tries to befriend Katie. Julie is the type of character you have to watch out for, because you never know what she will be up to next.
Lynskey adds to the suspense in scenes that serve as throwbacks to older horror films, such as the “Scream” trilogy.
Director Stephen Gaghan uses tired background music and predictable camera angles, allowing viewers to guess the ending before it arrives.
Although predictable, “Abandon’s” ending comes up so fast that even the most careful movie-goer will not understand the full plot of the movie until the credits roll.