Gone Girl (2014) 4.23/5 (7)


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Rating: The Good – 75.6
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Duration: 149 mins
Director: David Fincher
Stars: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens

David Fincher and Gillian Flynn’s eagerly awaited adaptation of her own bestseller has laisser faire husband, Ben Affleck, suspected in the kidnapping and murder of his wife, Rosamund Pike, amid a media storm and public fascination with the curious young woman. If you’re familiar with the book, you’ll know what happens next but if you’re new to Flynn’s post recession world of the neo-consumer thirty-something, let’s just say that it’s not long before things take a turn for the bizarre and the plot corkscrews towards an unlikely conclusion.

As was the case with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the class that Fincher brings to the production seems a little beyond Flynn’s poolside fiction but so polished and so full of disciplined verve is Gone Girl the movie, that it’s a genuine pleasure watching it unfold. That the film offers a wry take on the symbiotic relationship between media and personal perception is an unexpected bonus and goes a long way to offset the madness of the plot. Despite this however, there are many who will feel a little let down by the resolutions offered here or lack thereof. For what it does offer, however, Gone Girl is one of the better and more intriguing thrillers of recent years propped with notable characters and fine performances. The most enigmatic is certainly Pike’s Amy Dunne, the lady at the centre of the rigmarole. Seeing her only in flashback during the first half of the movie, she narrates us through the couple’s early years exclusively via her diary entries. Lines are slowly drawn between her and hubby as she lays bare his infidelity and we duly fall in behind her. However something likeable remains of Affleck’s Nick Dunne and the story pivots on that charm.

Unsurprisingly, Pike received plenty of plaudits including an Oscar nomination. And within the flashback scenes, she’s genuinely outstanding, juggling pathos with a discernible feminine strength. However as the story winds forward, her character becomes more inaccessible and it’s fair to say her performance becomes a little mono-dimensional. If there’s a star turn here, it’s probably the much maligned Affleck who delivers it. In by far his most substantial piece of acting, he plays the disengaged, suspicious doofus with all sorts of delicacy and almost single-handedly carries the movie through its turbulent final act. That said, Carrie Coon as his twin sister and Kim Dickens as the investigating detective offer terrific support in yet another couple of uniquely strong female roles.

But for all the cast’s work, that final 40 minutes would’ve crashed and burned if it wasn’t for Fincher’s immaculate touch. Masterfully integrating Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s mechanical (albeit familiar) score with Jeff Cronenweth’s luscious photography not to mention Kirk Baxter’s spotless editing and embedding it all within Donald Graham Burt’s typically splendid production design, he serves up yet another peach of a film. You won’t see the depth of vision of The Social Network here but the depth of technical achievement is everywhere.

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