It’s no secret that I am a massive fan of David Fincher and the majority of his work. DIscounting Alien 3 and The Game slide, Fincher has yet to make a “bad” movie in my eyes. Panic Room and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo are alright, with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button reaching pretty good. After that, Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac, and The Social Network all claim the titles of masterpiece’s in my eyes and it’s my adoration for his darker films that had me excited for this one. I went in not having read the book and avoiding all spoilers and it largely paid off. So, if you can, I’d suggest you do the same.
On a seemingly normal day, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) contemplates his marriage and winds up drinking at his bar, appropriately named “The Bar”. He sits across from his sister, Margo (Carrie Coon) on his 5th wedding anniversary and discusses his marital issues, until he’s called to come home to check on his cat. Upon returning home, Nick finds shattered glass and furniture amiss, making him question where his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) has gone. After the police come to sweep the scene, detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) and officer Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit) have a growing suspicion that Nick may somehow be involved in the disappearance of his wife.
Amy was the focus of a child’s story “Amazing Amy” and her parents (David Clennon & Lisa Banes) were quick to spread the word of her disappearance. With all the evidence mounting up and stories being questioned, Nick Dunne becomes the number one suspect on the list. It doesn’t help that he doesn’t quite know how to react to everything, only worsening his image in front of the media. Amy’s swift disappearance is also followed by strange clues and happenings that thicken the plot even more. Mysterious boyfriends (Neil Patrick Harris & Scoot McNairy) resurface, a lawyer (Tyler Perry) comes into play, and the media starts to take control of the ever-changing story. The real question is: did Nick Dunne kill his wife?
Gone Girl is easily one of the year’s best, combining disturbing elements of mystery, intrigue, dark humor, and public perception, all amounting to a twisted time at the movies. During the film, the uneasiness wafted over me and lingered well after the film had concluded. Still, I find myself being drawn back to aspects of the film that perplex and frighten me, only making my appreciation for this film grow. I couldn’t find a weak link in this film and I believe that’s due in part to everyone that contributed being spectacular. Words can’t express my complete emotions towards this film, but rest assured that they’re all positive.
Rosamund Pike is about to blow up and it’s not hard to see why. Pike easily gives the best female performance that I’ve seen all year by a wide margin and I cannot wait to see what this role will do for her future films. As the “Amazing Amy”, Pike plays this frightened character to a terrifying degree, as her long stares and near-monotonic voice provide a haunting element to this film. As the film unspools, so does information about her character and the life she live and then she becomes one of the most interesting characters that you could imagine. She plays the wife that Affleck wanted, the wife she never wanted to be, and something much deeper that Pike expertly pulls off, making you more invested in this film than ever.
Ben Affleck is having a nice few years, as he’s turned around his work and has been doing nothing but impressing audiences. Here, Affleck does perhaps his most solid work to date, as the cold and confused Nick Dunne. Affleck is marvelous, as he’s never quite sure how to act in front of the public and his knee-jerk reactions often end up getting him into more trouble. He’s no Angel himself, as he puts on his own fronts and hides his own secrets. Affleck looks at Pike with longing eyes at first, but those feelings of love and affinity quickly fade as we learn more about their marriage. Together, Affleck and Pike have a sort-of messed up chemistry that you can’t help but enjoy.
There’s a slew of excellent performances in this film, most notably from Carrie Coon. As Affleck’s sister, she’s always supporting him, but she doesn’t entirely believe everything he says. She is phenomenal in her moments of weakness and her chemistry for Affleck makes their family dynamic more interesting. Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry don’t have too much screen time in this film, but boy do they make the most of it. Harris has an aura of mystery surrounding his character, while Perry plays the unlikable lawyer all too well. Kim Dickens and Patrick Fugit, as the officers investing, also get their time to shine and really add a lot too this already incredible film. Together, all of these supporting performances help elevate Pike’s and Affleck’s and they really drawn you in to this disturbing film.
Director David Fincher is a masterful filmmaker and he’s really taken his game to a whole new level with Gone Girl. Working close with screenwriter and author Gillian Flynn, Fincher maintained a fine balance of dark humor and suspense in a film that deals heavily with marriage, how the media portrays/twists events, and how much we really know the people we love. Fincher’s camera angles and pans are breathtaking to watch and his ability to control the mood is unparalleled. There are moments where he builds the tension and then quickly cuts away, in order to give us another aspect of Nick and Amy’s relationship. Fincher, as always, never has any issue with divulging into sickening imagery and the way he presents certain aspects of this film will leave you stunned. His handling of this story is also magnificent, as he never reveals too much and has you entranced as he leads you where he wants you to go. It also helps that Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross created an eerie score that only creates a darker, more frightening mood to it all.
Gone Girl is a meticulous behind-the-scenes look into a marriage that brings up a lot of questions about the people involved. David Fincher, yet again, directs a thrilling film that makes you think deeply about the characters and their interactions, ultimately leaving you with a profound feeling after the credits role. Rosamund Pike is excellent and as is Affleck, as they both add intricacies to a marriage that is put to the test (which is a nice way of putting things). The film’s commentary about the media and how it portrays events and is prone to knee-jerk reactions is hilarious and all-too-real, only adding fuel to the burning fire that this film has to its advantage. If you leave the feeling unsure of what’s going on inside your stomach and mind, you know that this film did something crazy to you. I doubt we’ll see anything quite like this for a awhile.
Gone Girl Trailer