Gone Girl Review
A MASTERFUL AND ENTHRALLING ADAPTATION
David Fincher has worn many hats over the years. He’s directed music video for some of music’s top artist, he’s produced several projects including the Netflix hit show House of Cards (Fincher directed the two episode of the series), and directed such memorable movies with films like Fight Club, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (the US version) and Social Network. Many of Fincher’s movies have also been nominated for awards and have won including a Golden Globe Award for Best Director for Social Network and three technical awards (Make-up, Art Direction, and Visual Effects) for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Now, Fincher and delves into the world of Gillian Flynn’s bestselling book with the cinematic adaptation of Gone Girl. Is the film worth the hype or a hard pass?
On the day of his fifth anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) returns to his house to find his wife Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) missing and cooperates with two local law enforcements Detective Boney (Kim Dickens) and Officer Glipin (Patrick Fugit). However, the situation turns sour with the media becoming increasingly more involved with the disappearance of Amy, targeting Nick as the person responsible for killing his wife. With the help of his sister Margo (Carrie Coon), Nick, confronted with his own sins and a community that begins to loathe him, tries to decipher the clues that Amy left him for their anniversary celebration, hoping to find an answer of what happened to her. As things progress, the mystery of what really happened to Amy Dunne comes out as the story you think you know gets turned on its head and becomes the unthinkable truth.
THE GOOD / THE BAD
I will say that I haven’t the read Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. So, naturally, I really can’t speak against the changes that were made with from page to screen. From what I heard (From various people) is the movie does sort take away some of the nuances from the book including make one character’s point of view kind of one sided. This may disappoint those who have read the book prior to seeing this movie. Again, I can’t speak against these changes, but author Gillian Flynn did work on the movie Gone Girl, developing the screenplay for the film. So, in a sense, Flynn does have the right frame of mind when crafting the script for the film, even though it might deviate from her source material slightly.
Given the complex nature of the book and its thematic adult undertones, David Fincher is the perfect candidate for directing Gone Girl. His well known attention to detail in his movie is showcased in this film, but perhaps a little too much. The film’s lengthy runtime is my main problem. Elongated scenes that tediously run too long are frequent, adding to the longevity of viewing the movie (which clocks a minute shy of two and half hours long). It just felt long and drawn out at times, a prime example where the intricate details of a book are preferably better within its pages rather than a film’s screenplay. There are some dark elements to the movie (a couple of scene that makes you gasp in shock), but those scenes I won’t say are uncomfortable to watch like in Fincher’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (you know what I’m talking about).
At its core, Gone Girl is about a marriage and a vile and toxic one at that. The film places a marriage under a microscope and layers it, dealing with love and romance at its inception that begins to ultimately chip away at a marital foundation with issues like unemployment, estrangement, moving, and financial problems. These are all real issues in a multitude of relationships and perhaps why many can connect to the characters of Nick and Amy Dunne. Who we are and what we do are sometimes a mask for the public eye (A façade of sorts) and behind it is the ugly bitter truth of reality. Essentially, that’s what the framework around Gone Girl’s story persist on asking, setting up viewers for a dubious mystery of duplicity.
The cast for Gone Girl is remarkable. Where to start? Ben Affleck is cast correctly as Nick Dunne, a character that you like one moment and despise the next; a kind of paradoxically effect on viewers as well as the characters in the film. While, of course, Affleck’s name lends weight to the film, the honest true star of the film is Rosamund Pike as Nick’s wife Amy. Pike delivers a spectacular and riveting performance, one that might be a career defining role for her. Many, including myself, expect to see Pike getting an “Oscar” nomination for her role in this movie (and personally I hope she wins). As for side characters, Kim Dickens is exemplary as the razor-sharp sleuth Detective Boney as well as Carrie Coon portrayal of Nick’s ethical and reasonable sister Margo. Rounding out the cast is Neil Patrick Harris as the kind-of-creepy, but even-keel demeanor Desi Collings, Amy’s ex-boyfriend and Tyler Perry delivers a small, but favorable performance as Nick’s defense attorney Tanner Bolt.
Fincher’s Gone Girl is a powerful film adaption from the book of the same name. The film examines a marriage on a treacherous downward spiral, dosing its narrative in illusions with ambiguity and deception. It’s dark, intriguing, left open for debate and much to be desired. It was, to me, a terrific film that captures Fincher’s R-rated touch of deceitful characters, coupled with stirring performances from its lead and supporting cast and an engaging narrative. Hats off to David Fincher for bring Gillian Flynn’s novel to life, treating viewers to a tantalizing feature of thrilling entertainment and learning that “Amazing Amy” vanished and (behind the façade) never really existed at all.