Director: David Fincher
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens
Release Date: 2nd October 2014, 20th Century Fox
Gone Girl, based on the book by Gillian Flynn, is a twisted thriller following Nick Dunne after his wife, Amy, has disappeared on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary. Under pressure from the police and the media frenzy, the façade of their perfect marriage begin to crumble and Nick’s lies, deceits and strange behaviour have everyone asking the same question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?
Gone Girl is a story featuring the most manipulative of characters and the most unreliable of narrators, and this is mirrored in some way by director David Fincher’s keen ability to manipulate the audience; we are constantly being pushed in various directions, made to think a certain way until the rug is pulled out from beneath us. Fincher brilliantly handles and executes the tonal changes between the past and present, between our characters points of view; Amy’s fate and Nick’s suffering at the hands of the public. Visually the flim is slick and sophisticated, beautiful to look at with all credit going to Fincher’s frequent collaborator Jeff Cronenweth and his incredible cinematography.
Despite Gone Girls almost two-and-a-half hours running time, the film moves at a comfortable pace that will keep audiences enthralled. Fincher creates a moody and engrossing sense of uncertainty throughout the film, reminiscent of his earlier work in films such as Se7en and even on his newer productions, such as the first few episodes of Netflix’s House of Cards.
The soundtrack provides an eerie, cold and uncomfortable atmosphere, marking the third collaboration between David Fincher, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
Ben Affleck gives an exceptional performance as Nick Dunne, a charming man who seems to have a dark side within him. He manages to easily shift between the likeable, everyday man to that of someone deceptive and sleazy, with a possible dangerous and murderous glint within him.
Affleck is outshined however, by the stunningly elegant Rosamund Pike who arguably gives the best performance of her career. She is extraordinary as the over-achieving Ivy League scholar who is trapped into a bored, suburban lifestyle and an unhappy marriage. She is spectacular in this film, particularly when exposing the hidden facets of ‘Amazing’ Amy and her deeply flawed persona. Pike’s performance as Amy is one of the best performances of a villainous woman, or femme fatale, that we have seen in contemporary cinema over the previous years.
The supporting cast also give exceptionally sharp performances; Tyler Perry as Dunne’s lawyer, Carrie Coon as Dunne’s sister Margo. Neil Patrick Harris gives a mediocre performance as Amy’s creepy prep-school ex-boyfriend and ex-stalker, leaving us to feel like he was underused more than necessary and if given more time in the film, could have taken the role to a new level.
Having not read the original book, I cannot comment on the faithfulness of the novel’s adaptation but I commend Flynn for writing a truly extraordinary screenplay with a maze of twists and turns.
In the films opening scene, Nick Dunne asks three questions that one might ask of their spouse:
What are you thinking?
How are you feeling?
What have we done to each other?
Gone Girl begs the question: Do we ever really know?
An enthralling and engrossing dark thriller. A must-see.
Have you read Gone Girl?
I finished the book earlier this year, and like many fans I was left with a love-hate relationship with its ending- it’s just one of those endings that leave you with more questions than answers. When rumours began to swirl that they would be changing the ending for the movie I was intrigued- it’s a bold move for a writer to agree to change her story for the sake of a movie, however Gillian Flynn is no ordinary writer having started out as a film and television critic for Entertainment Weekly, she’s no stranger to the world of entertainment. While the talks of a new ending were founded in Flynn’s statement that she was thrilled about “taking this piece of work that I’d spent about two years painstakingly putting together… and take a hammer to it and bash it apart and reassemble it into a movie,” fans will be happy to hear that the movie is one of the most loyal pieces of film to its original works that I have ever seen.
From start to finish the characters in Gone Girl represent those in the book to a tee. Nick played by Ben Affleck is the affable yet imperfect husband to Amy, played by Rosamund Pike, who captures her complex character perfectly- you really sense that someone in the film is an unreliable narrator, and anyone could come out liking or disliking either character. That isn’t to say there aren’t some changes- gone is Tanner Bolt’s wife, along with Desi Collings Mother, and Amy’s parents are more of a background noise, however this in no way takes away from the story.
One of the only my only negative comments about the film is the casting of Neil Patrick Harris as Desi Collings- the overly-attached Momma’s boy who wants to rekindle a past romance with Amy. While Harris would initially come across as a good casting for this role, I was disappointed when the audience found his part in the movie to be more comical than the sad and creepy character I depicted him to be in the book, which has me doubting this casting- unfortunately his past roles in comedies may haunt his future acting choices as people still see him as the misogynist Barney Stinson.
One of the great things about Gone Girl is the way in which it is a meditation on the rollercoaster that is marriage, and while some may see the trailer for this film and pass it off as another whodunit, I implore you to take the time (it is nearly 2.5 hours) to see it- Director David Fincher has captured Flynn’s twists and turns and brought to screen the kind of story people will debate about for long after.
Faithful to the original- a thrilling dramatic mystery and the kind that will have you and your friends discussing many days later.