Gone Girl Blu-ray Review
Although we all have our favorite directors, it’s rare to think of a director as the “star” of the movie. Terrence Malick comes to mind as a director that can take a pedestrian story, or no story at all in some cases, and make an enjoyable film just by the way he chooses to film it. David Fincher might be getting to that point and there’s no better evidence of his advancement as a filmmaker than GONE GIRL. Because when you strip GONE GIRL down to the bare bones story, it’s actually not that impressive. There’s a basic concept or “wow” moment, but once that hits (about halfway through), the story falls into standard thriller fare. But it’s the keen eye and meticulous direction of Fincher that elevates GONE GIRL from a standard and soon forgotten thriller to what’s ultimately one of the best films of the year.
Discussing the plot is like navigating a minefield filled with spoilers, so I’ll err on the side of caution for those of you sensitive to spoilers. The basic gist is that Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) comes home to find his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), missing and signs of a struggle. He calls the police and he quickly becomes the subject of the national media as the mystery of what happened to his wife evolves and the question of his guilt weighs heavier on the minds of the public. The movie is really divided into two parts with the first half of the movie revolving around Nick and what happened to his wife and the second part focusing on the answer to that question. So yes, we do get the answer and we do find out what happened to her.
The answer to the question of what happened to Nick’s wife is the only “wow” moment in the film and even that’s a little obvious. There’s really nothing shocking or surprising in the film, but David Fincher tells it with such a pinpoint, eerie tone that you’re constantly on the edge of your seat, even though the intensity in the film is minimal. The great thing about GONE GIRL is that you’re constantly torn between liking and hating Nick and Amy. This is made possible by the slow reveal of the truth since not everything we see and hear turn out to be true. Sometimes that can be a gimmick and sometimes directors use that to create a false “wow” moment for the audience, but in GONE GIRL, the truths that turn out to be lies and the lies that turn out to be truths are discovered by people in the film as they’re discovered by the audience. That makes the ride that much more fun and again, it’s a credit to Fincher’s ability.
Going into GONE GIRL, Ben Affleck was my biggest concern. I like his films, but I don’t always think of him as a good actor, at least not in movies he also directs. In GONE GIRL, he gives his best performance to date, fully taking on the role of a bored husband and an accused criminal. Nick is a slippery character in that playing him too devilish can turn the audience off and playing him too charming can ruin the tone. Affleck did a fantastic job and really nailed this character. Rosamund Pike also did an impressive job, completely making up for her stinking up JACK REACHER a couple of years ago. It was nice to see Neil Patrick Harris in a more serious role, even if a little Barney Stinson shone through every now and again.
GONE GIRL isn’t for everyone and I liken it to THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO in the sense that it’s a slow buildup and the beauty is in the direction more than the story. This is not Fincher’s best movie, but it might be his best work as a director. Add that to great performances from Affleck and Pike, as well as great supporting turns from Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris and Carrie Coon, and you have a very impressive film.
Video: GONE GIRL is one of the darkest movies I’ve seen in a while and even scenes shot in the daytime are overly dark, completely void of color. That works well for the film and thankfully, the black-levels look great on Blu-ray.
Audio: The audio was also fine, highlighting the eerie and appropriate score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Toss.
Commentary with David Fincher: I like Fincher’s commentaries because he doesn’t take himself too seriously. In this one, he makes a few jokes to get things started and then keeps everything rolling with plenty of comments and stories about the film. I would have liked to hear him and Ben Affleck team up on a commentary, but this was still a fun listen.