I’m not* going to attempt a full review of Gone Girl because I feel like there is so much loud praise for the film it really doesn’t need my feeble voice added to the mix. Having been to see it earlier this week however I can’t just say nothing. I am a blogger and so I must blog. For those unaware Gone Girl is the story of Nick and Amy Dunne (Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike) a couple in an imperfect marriage. The film begins as Amy goes missing and Nick finds himself in a media whirlwind as suspicions run rampant. Did Nick murder his wife?
As someone who has read Gillian Flynn’s original novel I came to the film with certain expectations. My brain had already done its own casting, built all the sets, and written the score. I was also already aware of the satisfying reveal that comes neatly at the centre of both novel and film providing a perspective shift and keeping the questions running through your mind from getting too repetitive.
Luckily David Fincher must have peered into my mind as a lot of what I saw on-screen matched my imagination. As a result I wasn’t wasting any time mentally complaining about the layout of a house or colour of someone’s shirt. I had been slightly worried about the casting of Neil Patrick Harris as Amy’s obsessive ex Desi Collings but I was proved wrong as Harris gave the perfect performance as a pathetic but controlling man. Similarly Affleck and Pike fit their roles to a tee; neither being wholly likeable or trustworthy but both proving enigmatic despite their failure to generate sympathy. Trying to read the machinations behind their eyes is a game you are unlikely to win.
My only disappointment with Gone Girl is that I could not watch the film from a completely uninformed point of view and experience each twist and turn with fresh eyes. Regardless of this Gone Girl was a gripping thriller that had me second guessing myself to the end. It may not be Fincher’s finest but is certainly in the better half of his body of work. Gillian Flynn has made good work of adapting her own book; her faithful approach to the text will satisfy diehard fans fearing Hollywood sabotage and cinephiles shouldn’t detect any first-time screenwriter foibles.
Fans of the book will love Gone Girl. Fans of Fincher will too. It’s rare to get a proper 18 certificate film these days and Gone Girl certainly doesn’t shy away from showing you the seedier elements of the story. Dark, tense, and deeply engrossing you will find it hard to tear your eyes away from the screen but at times might need to look away for some relief.
See this as soon as possible or risk having a carefully plotted, if slightly implausible, film spoiled for you.
*Or at least I wasn’t planning to