Gone Girl Movie Review
It feels like it has been a long time since seeing an exceptional murder mystery thriller. Thankfully, David Fincher’s (THE SOCIAL NETWORK) directed GONE GIRL has rescued the deprived viewing public by providing an cleverly crafted film that will keep you guessing for the first half of the film, then deliver a blow that will keep your head delightfully spinning the rest of the way through.
Trading perspectives, GONE GIRL follows both husband Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) whose wife has mysteriously gone missing, and the voice of his missing wife Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) through her journal leading up to the events from when she went missing. When evidence hints at possible foul play, the media and public frenzy escalates, providing an extra pressure around the question mark of what happened and who is to blame.
Based on the best-selling novel by the same name, GONE GIRL’s adapted screenplay was also penned by the author Gillian Flynn. Exploring themes involving current television and social media influence on perceptive innocent or guilt, the film ultimately gives a much darker spin on the sociological characterization of a modern day failing marriage. Using the midwest hospitality through a MIssouri backdrop, the surrounding details become a welcomed influence to the overall story.
It’s difficult to fully critique a film that hinges on not revealing spoilers. It’s also difficult when I’ve read the book beforehand, which I famously (yes, I said famously) say ruins films. I will be curious to hear reactions from those who have not read the book as I’m not sure if my knowledge blinded me from the flaws or hindered me from an even higher enjoyment level. However, I can say that GONE GIRL is a worthy adaptation that I previously thought to be a difficult achievement. With an already unconventional narrative in storytelling, the editing is a key component that helps the film move quickly with tension and excitement. Collaborating once again with Trent Reznor, Fincher has found his musical muse, as the film’s score is impeccable.
Any complaints I may have are specific to character traits and actions, which the story, for the most part, writes out beautifully. My frustration comes with wanting more, which ultimately could be a side effect of the extra detail that books are allowed over film. Without being too specific, there is certain detail or perhaps uneven distribution in storytelling that limits the view of the full picture. But the characters are what is truly important and the inspired casting really pulls the film together in an insanely yet believable way.
When news came out that Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike would be cast as the leads in GONE GIRL, I was a little hesitant to say I’m excited. I’ve been a bigger fan of Affleck’s directorial efforts rather than his acting career and I had only recognized Pike from JACK REACHER where she was by far the worst part of an already mediocre movie. Clearly, I was wrong to have any reservations as both actors turn in some truly subtle and spectacular performances. Lets not forget some unusually casting choices for the many important supporting roles from Neil Patrick Harris as an obsessive ex-lover, Tyler Perry as cocky defense lawyer, Carrie Coon as Nick’s loyal twin sister, and Kim Dickens as the patient detective just to name a few.
David Fincher has has an array of highly influential and memorable films, so when looking back through his work, GONE GIRL will probably not be a standout. However, his technique and precision is clearly written all over the film, giving a thrilling story from Gillian Glynn the appropriate attention to let it speak for itself. To make a film with such sharp turns and careful storytelling feel so natural and seamless is an achievement few directors can pull off. GONE GIRL is a solid film and a rare genre gem where the journey of discovery is an exhilarating ride and twisted experience.