Director: David Fincher
Cast Headliners: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike
Original Release Date: Cotober 3rd, 2014
Gone Girl is a deceptive film. On the surface this dramatic thriller, which is based upon a 2012 novel by Gillian Flynn which I have not read, appears to be a typical mystery quest. There’s a missing wife; there’s barely any clues around; and dark shadows lurk in the corners. But the truth behind the mystery is so much more horrifying than what it first appears to be. The same can be said for the film as a whole.
Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) is a former writer who runs a bar in Missouri with his sister Margo (Carrie Coon). His marriage to his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) has gone through some trouble of late and this is not aided when he comes home from work to find that she is completely missing with signs of a struggle in the house. Nick enlists the aid of the local police amongst others including Detective Boney (Kim Dickens) to track down Amy.
The movie could have continued along this line and been perfectly acceptable. But it’s an intricate evolving beast of a movie. It’s refreshing to see in the tumultuous world a stable person in Nick. Affleck has grown tremendously as an actor over the past few years and his performance here is a quality one. He embeds Nick with a charismatic everyman charm much like his other films, but yet he manages to make it restrained and mesh well with the tone of this very dark film.
The film is intricate because it is not just straight forward playing but also a web of flash-backs and flash-forwards and separated side plots and more. The directing effort of David Fincher absolutely must be praised as he makes it all work. It never becomes difficult to understand what is happening. As things become crazier, they also start to make more sense as the puzzle pieces slide into place. His distinct style is present as well, as shots are crisp and arguments are impactful. The dark tone of the film is something only he could have made. He has created a film which definitely belongs amongst the best of his filmography. He is also aided by some incredible musical work from associate Trent Reznor who’s music fits this film so well.
This aids to the role of Amy. Amy manages to be an incredibly important character despite showing up through flashbacks or narration in large parts of the film. Rosamund Pike has done an incredible job. Even when it’s only her voice, she manages to deliver powerful words painting a picture of a marriage gone wrong. There is a subtle but impactful set of themes in the film which critique marriages as well as the role of perspective in media. To spoil this would ruin the film’s number 1 greatest trait (the many shocking twists and turns), but I’ll just say that Amy is more than she appears to be from Nick’s perspective and that Pike is thrillingly chilling as the (antagonist).
The movie drifts at times between being grim dark as heck with several touching moments, but also has some surprising laughs. Everything manages to blend together well which is another credit to Fincher. On a related note, normal comedy stars star as characters in Amy’s creepy rich ex-boyfriend Desi (Neil Patrick Harris) and celebrity charismatic lawyer Tanner (Tyler Perry). Both are playing out of usual type and are fantastic . It’s a shame that they don’t appear to late into the picture and are woefully under-featured.
The other gripe is that at 149 minutes long it’s no quick breezy experience. This is a film which really feels its length. It’s worth it by the end, but one wonders if there was a way to cut down on the run time. But I suppose it needed all that time considering the amount of things which happen in the delightfully chaotic plot.
Overall the film contains a terrific cast and an exciting dark roller coaster of a plot. Because of its runtime there are a few minor plot holes here and there and a sore lack of NPH, but otherwise it’s a nearly flawless film. Affleck, Pike, and Fincher have delivered amazing work in Gone Girl. I’ve joked that it’s a test for Affleck as Bruce Wayne before his next movie in Batman, and he will do great at the job. This movie gets a very deserved 9.15 out of 10