“Gone Girl” directed by David Fincher, is an entertainingly dark adaptation of the hit novel that reveals the horrors behind marriage. Everyone tries to orchestrate a perfect life image, but the movie shows how deceiving appearances can be. Presented both as a Hitchcock mystery thriller and an urban romance drama, is at its best when focusing on the dark side of marriage. Concerned with how truth is being manipulated by a biased-media and appeareances, it represents our post-recession times. Exciting and thought proving, this will get your blood pumping and make you scared of America’s marital institution.
Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) possesses good looks and a movie star chin, yet his cheesy smile suggests darker dimensions. One day coming home, he discovers shattered glass splintered about his neat living room floor – where his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) has gone missing. Contacting the police he tries to discover what happened to his wife, though he seems suspiciously slack in effort. The story is inappropriately mishandled in the news media, and Nick becomes the central suspect. It presents the news as being more concerned with sensationalizing than conveying actual truth.
This search is intercut with Amy’s early account of how their relationship began. Relayed in her “Amazing Amy” voice, a character featured in a novel her parents financially benefited from – this is how everyone perceived her. The novel itself is complicated, using literary tricks like deceiving narrators and internal dialogue and description. Fincher adapts these challenges seamlessly, communicating unseen tension through the stellar cast. Some of this material translates goofily on to the screen, but it’s so fast paced and riveting it works.
Even if you’ve read the novel, the movie doesn’t feel like an obvious retread and has enough surprises to keep it absorbing. What you get on screen is akin to a 1980’s horror movie with an artier focus on the disintegration of a marriage. Pikes performance is the haunted heart of the film and deservedly so, holding it all together with her intensely focused performance. She gets the role of a lifetime, and uses her anonymity to reach unforgettable heights. Surrounded by tip-top performances, every supporting actors get a chance to create a full impression. My favorites are the highly enjoyable Tyler Perry and Kim Dickens.
This is a smart, entertaining, and though-provoking thriller that boasts a rare central female role. It never quite reaches its full potential due to constraints of the source material, but I thought it was incredibly satisfying. It tackles topics relevant to our times and features stunning performances from an idealistic cast. This is an intelligent movie that understands anything or anyone can go sour – no matter how it appears on the surface. Without movie monsters – the scares are produced by looking at the dark realities of marriage.
(3 ½ out of 4 stars)
Released: October 3, 2014