My review of ‘GONE GIRL’ (2014)

Director: David Fincher
Writer: Gillian Flynn (Both screenplay and novel)
Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Carrie Coon, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Missi Pyle
UK release date: 3rd October 2014
Running time: 149 minutes
Plot summary: Nick Dunne returns home one morning on his fifth wedding anniversary to wife Amy, only to find his wife is now missing and discovers what appears to be the aftermath of a break-in in their living room. With just his twin sister seemingly on his side, he now has to struggle with the police, media and town’s population largely suspecting him of murdering poor Amy…
‘What are you thinking? What are you feeling? What have we done to eachother? What will we do?’
These are probably some of the main questions that couples would find themselves asking each other or to their own selves, if their marriages went a bit sour.
Clouded by controversy and much hot debate that this movie could be seen as very misogynistic, that may be true to an extent, but really it all depends on how you look at it, your whole perception of the film and which particular character you decide to root for throughout as the plot thickens.
However controversial and ‘dangerous’ this film might be, it may very well be Fincher’s most crowning achievement to date. Bringing Gillian Flynn, the author on board to write the adapted screenplay was a smart move, resulting in Fincher translating one of the most faithful adaptations from book to screen, something that is seen all too rare these days. There were a few minor scenes cut from the film, that for me, strengthened the story even more in the novel but honestly, it really doesn’t distract or alter the film’s narrative in any way that Fincher and Flynn are trying to tell. The whole bulk of it and messages that are made to get across to audiences is clear and condensed, so that in itself is a successful accomplishment. If you choose to go into the movie theatre, comparing the film too much in line with the novel in your own head then that’s just a hell of a lot of unnecessary nitpicking right!?

Its rather difficult to write about this film without giving the main twists away, but one of the main revelations of ‘Gone Girl’ are of course, the two central performances given by Affleck and Pike as Nick and Amy Dunne. Told from their differing points of view in the present and past time scales, both stars give career best turns here as a seemingly happy couple living the American dream, madly in love with each other, but what they had soon starts to crumble and fall away as soon as the recession hits, causing job loss for the both of them and other money problems. This quickly descends the relationship into complete boredom and growing hatred for one another. Affleck was the perfect choice to play the character of Nick, embodying the role of a man struggling with his own inner demons and desperation to prove his innocence that he had nothing to do with the disappearance of his wife. It was a boost in his acting career that he needed right now, being able to deliver his performance with immaculate skill and tremendous charisma playing a character that questioned the motives of audiences whether or not they should be on his side.
Rosamund Pike, on the other hand may just steal all the thunder from her opposite star. As others have already mentioned, she’s tipped to being a serious contender for the Oscars early next year. She more than lives up to the challenges of the role, portraying Amy as a woman going through different levels of emotional state while straining to keep her marriage to Nick alive. After proving she can pull off the diversity and confidence of playing such a complex role; firing at all cylinders, we can only hope that she will be picked for more meaty, leading lady roles as a testament to her great acting chops instead of just the typical supporting roles she usually found herself in, in the likes of ‘The World’s End’ and ‘Jack Reacher’.

Fincher has managed to craft an exceptional, ‘whodunnit,’ mystery thriller that will keep you endlessly guessing the outcome of what happens to Nick and if he really did murder Amy or not. I would place this film right up there with ‘Zodiac’, ‘Se7en’ and ‘The Social Network’ as being his best work to date, unbelievable seeing as this is only his tenth film as director. I’ve never been this engrossed in a film that deeply explores the darker side of romance and the side effects that this can have on a couple since seeing Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’. With an amazing supporting cast and an overshadowing darkness that spreads doom and danger into every scene and single shot of its 2 hours and 29 minutes of running time, this is one Fincher film you don’t want to miss.

5 out of 5.

Martin

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