I was excited when I found out they were adapting Gillian Flynn’s novel, Gone Girl, into a movie. This is a book I came across two years ago, and I flew through in about two days, because it was really that good. I wasn’t sure how well the story would fare on the big screen, though, important story elements of a lot of good books end up lost in translation. However, this is one of the best adaptations I’ve seen in quite a few years, and that is obviously due to the great direction by David Fincher and the fact that Flynn wrote the screenplay herself, not to mention, this pairing is perfect.
If anyone is familiar with Gillian Flynn’s other novels (Sharp Objects and Dark Places), you know she’s got a pretty twisted mind, and David Fincher seems to have been drawn to this kind of material since he first started directing. Author of dark stories meets director of dark movies, it’s really a match made in a twisty, screwed up version of cinema heaven. Gone Girl is a thrilling story that explores the deep, dark side of a modern marriage and turns it into a murder mystery where you’ll find no one character is 100% reliable, and that secrets come to reveal themselves in interesting ways.
Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) returns to his home one morning on the day of his and Amy’s (Rosamund Pike) 5th wedding anniversary after spending the morning in a bar aptly named “The Bar” that he owns with his twin sister, Margot (Carrie Coon). When he walks in the door he finds that his wife is missing and there’s a coffee table flipped over with glass everywhere. Nick calls the police and Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) and officer Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit) answer the call. When they start their investigation, they find that not everything is quite as it seems. Nick ends up in the spotlight as a possible suspect of Amy’s murder as information reaches the public that alludes to the idea that they had a far from perfect marriage before her mysterious disappearance, and that Nick isn’t exactly innocent in all things.
I’ve never jumped on the Ben Affleck hating bandwagon myself, but I will say that his performance in this movie is one of the best from him that I’ve seen in a while. I certainly did not picture him as Nick Dunne while reading the book, but he plays the character quite well. Nick, without giving much away, is a mixture of charming, idiotic, and sometimes, kind of an asshole. Affleck does a good job of bringing this multifaceted character to life.
Rosamund Pike, who I have never seen in a leading role before, showcases her talents as Amy, a character whose life the audience comes to know through her diary, as well as from Nick’s perspective. She’s a woman who has been idealized by her own parents, through their successful book series Amazing Amy, a fictional side of her own self she will never live up to. After her disappearance, she becomes even more idealized. After all, she is now a poor victim of possible domestic abuse and murder. Just as there are different sides to Nick, however, there’s even more so for Amy. Pike is a brilliant choice for this role, again, someone I never pictured, but who fits it more perfectly than I could have imagined.
I also have to give a couple of honorable mentions to Tyler Perry as Nick’s lawyer, Tanner Bolt, as well as Carrie Coon as Margot Dunne. Tyler Perry, while not playing the most serious character in this movie proved he could still pull off more serious than Madea, and that’s a pretty worthy accomplishment I think. Carrie Coon is the sassy and overprotective sister who I would probably get annoyed with quick if I were married to Nick Dunne, no doubt about that. Neil Patrick Harris, on the other hand, seemed a little out of place compared to everyone else. I love him and everything but the part he played in this was just weird to say the least. Maybe I’m just too used to seeing him as Barney in How I Met Your Mother.
I’ve been seeing numerous other people praising the score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, and that’s not surprising. It’s often haunting and it fits the tone of the movie so well. There’s a part towards the end of the movie where some serious shit goes down, and the music actually gave me chills.
Aside from pointing out some very common, and also not so common downfalls of marriage, Gone Girl accurately portrays the role the media plays in situations like this. The media is so quick to point fingers at anyone without knowing all of the facts, and the general public tend to flock to the most popular opinion generated by the media. It doesn’t matter if the suspect is guilty or not guilty, you’ll still have talk show hosts spouting their own biased opinions on air, and people taking to the streets holding signs, yelling “murderer” and praising the victims like they are some sort of martyred saints. It really shows the dark side of humanity in general.
Gone Girl is high up on my list of favorite movies from this year. It is brilliantly made thanks to David Fincher who is an amazing director, Gillian Flynn who wrote the script and the novel it’s based off of, along with some exceptional performances and a hauntingly composed score. The only thing I wish is that I hadn’t read the book two years ago, because I feel like this film would’ve been even better and more shocking if I hadn’t already known what was going to happen. So for anyone who has not read or seen Gone Girl yet and is thinking about doing one or both, I would say watch the movie first. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.