Director: David Fincher
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, and Neil Patrick Harris
Review Written By: Michael Dalton
On the day of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne comes home to find his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) missing and evidence of a break-in. As the police investigation proceeds and the days go by, Nick’s failure to behave as expected makes him the prime suspect, with the news media leading a witch-hunt masquerading as justice. As their seemingly perfect marriage is examined and the cracks revealed, Nick is desperate to get his wife back, not because he necessarily wants to be with her anymore, but to clear his name.
It’s hard to say what is so special about Gone Girl without spoiling it. As somebody who read Gillian Flynn’s book last summer, I knew what to expect, and envy anybody who gets to watch this not knowing what’s coming. An experience I’d like to protect for anybody reading this who has not read the book. Like the text (Which has been adapted for the screen by Gillian Flynn herself) this is a film that doesn’t really get going until a certain reveal. But once it does, just as you couldn’t put the book down, you won’t be able to take your eyes off the screen.
When I read that David Fincher would be the man to helm this adaptation, I knew the perfect choice had been made and he doesn’t disappoint. From the very opening, ominous, scene you know that you are in safe hands. Fincher’s films rank among some of the best ever made in my opinion, with the highlights being Fight Club, Se7en, and The Social Network. Gone Girl is a much better and more fun adaptation than his preceding work, ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ and this feels like his more natural follow-up to 2010’s ‘The Social Network’
Unflinching Fincher really takes on and maintains the story’s inherent nastiness, whilst also poking fun at its ridiculousness. This is a twisted film, yet also a thrilling one, with the dark humour brought to the material resulting in a crowd-pleasing, thrill-ride of a film that is actually a lot of fun to watch despite its dark subject matter. Watching this film with a packed crowd might have been the most fun I’ve had in a cinema this year. Hearing their gasps and laughs made for quite an electric and energetic experience.
However for many it will be Rosamund Pike and not David Fincher who is the star of the show, and understandably so. This is a career-defining role for Pike. She brilliantly pulls off everything the role and film requires of her, in what is one of the best performances of the year so far. As many have pointed out she’s a classic Hitchcock actress in a film that truly deserves the overused word in critical circles, Hitchcockian. Meanwhile as mentioned as far as Ben Affleck is concerned this is in many ways the perfect role for him. It is a performance and character that encapsulates his career to date. In the supporting cast Tyler Perry and Neil Patrick Harris are both fantastic in roles that play on qualities they possess but are rarely exploited.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross must also be mentioned for their score, which is chillingly perfect. Their third consecutive collaboration with Fincher, these two now must be considered amongst the best film composers working today, with the work here rivaling their Oscar winning work for, ‘The Social Network’
Gone Girl isn’t perfect. It is long at two and a half hours, although this is something, which is helped by the fact that all the best material is towards the end. It may be a bit slow at the start for some and the debate will rage amongst those who read the book regarding the film’s handling of the book’s much lauded structure. However Gone Girl is a wonderfully twisted and thrilling time at the movies that I can’t wait to experience again.