Gone Girl Review

Movie Review: Gone Girl

Gillian Flynn’s best-selling adult mystery novel is brought to the big screen with David Fincher’s “Gone Girl.” Flynn, whose novel was released in 2012, also wrote the screenplay for the film which stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as a young married couple living in a small Missouri town. The film dives right into the thick of things, starting on the morning of the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary. Affleck’s character, Nick, gets a call that there was a disturbance at his home and when he checks it out, he finds signs of a struggle but no sign of his wife, Amy.

The first half of the movie plays as an investigation into whether Nick is responsible for his wife’s disappearance. The movie makes effective use of the 24-hour news cycle and how quick they are to judge someone based on one photograph and the pile-on that happens when everyone thinks someone is guilty with no basis to prove that they are. Meanwhile, we are told the other side of the story by Amy via diary entries and flashbacks. Entries include: The first meeting, the engagement, and other events which get darker and scarier if you fear for Amy.

Unfortunately, as readers of the book know, to give any more of the plot away would be spoiling a twisted and truly disturbing story. The film clocks in at just less than two and one half hours long, however it never feels like it drags and everything feels like it is a vital part of the story. In the two screenings I’ve been in, I only saw a handful of people leave for a bathroom break.

Fincher directs the movie like he is performing surgery, everything is measured and calculated. The color of the film has that classic green hue and the score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is subtle but effective. It is the perfect blend of absolute meticulous direction done with absolute seriousness, meanwhile as the story goes along, it gets more and more ludicrous. In that aspect, this film reminded me of “The Social Network” where it seemed like a courtroom movie and a dark, slow, precise director like Fincher seemed like opposites and for that reason it worked. It was an interesting blend of two styles of movies. Affleck and Pike are both rock solid in the film. I’m not as gaga over Pike as some others have been, although she plays Amy as well as anyone else could. I was perhaps more impressed with the performance of Tyler Perry as Nick’s attorney. Perry disappears into the role and displays great control by playing a supporting character. Neil Patrick Harris is perhaps the weak link in the performance chain, even though he may have played his character the way it was written, so maybe it was just a case of poor casting. Others worth mentioning are Carrie Coon as Nick’s twin sister, and Kim Dickens and Patrick Fugit as the investigators of the case.

While “Gone Girl” may fall a bit short of being Fincher’s masterpiece, it is yet another solid film to add to his canon. The direction is the best in the business and the material tries to make us look differently at the news and also how we try to show our best selves to people we’ve just met. However, ultimately Flynn’s story isn’t much more than a very twisted Dateline NBC episode.

Grade: A-

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