Published on October 4th, 2014 | by Allan Brown2
Gone Girl Review
Movie Review: Gone Girl (2014)
Running Time: 149 mins
Director: David Fincher
Writers: Gillian Flynn (screenplay), Gillian Flynn (novel)
Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Dickens, Carrie Coon, Tyler Perry, Patrick Fugit
Thrills, chills, twists and turns presented in a slick social commentary are order of the day, in David Fincher‘s stylish adaptation of Gillian Flynn best-selling novel, Gone Girl.
On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne returns home to discover his wife missing and the scene of a possible struggle in their North Carthage home. Having quickly reported the incident to local detectives, what ensues is nothing short of a media frenzy as Nick quickly finds himself painted as suspect number one in his wife’s disappearance. Innocent or not, he finds himself in a battle against time to convince the media and authorities of his innocence, or face the inevitable consequences
Fincher’s Gone Girl offers several strands to its exquisite bow. On the one hand, it’s a traditional murder mystery, with twists, turns and red herrings galore, all firmly and uncompromisingly rooted in the thriller genre.
On the other hand, it’s a blistering satirical social commentary of today’s media. The film unashamedly holds a mirror up, to not only the media gods and there manipulation of public opinion, but we as a society who have become so accustomed to viewing the world solely on what the media feeds us that we accept it as fact. In the blink of an eye, we as a society cast judgement after hearing the latest hearsay, rumour or blind hunch, creating heroes and villains based on how they are painted in newspapers and on television, and all without the need of the facts or particulars of a case.
A satirical and cautionary tale of marriage, filled with dark humour and cynicism
And lastly, yet perhaps most importantly, its a satirical and cautionary tale of marriage, filled with black humour and cynicism. This theme is where Fincher relishes the opportunity to dabble in the realms of dark humour, thus making light of the seriousness of the subject matter which are presented through anything from set-pieces to character tone, from its unsettling yet monotonic elevator type theme music to the emotionless delivery of dialogue from key characters.
From the word go, the film takes its time in setting up its characters, mood and direction. Its splintered structure that see’s many flashbacks may slow the pace of the main thread for many, but these sequences are handled with care and do not overstay they’re welcome.
Gone Girls author Gillian Flynn (who also wrote the films screenplay) has created wonderfully rich characters, and both Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck deliver in bring them to life in stunning career best performances. Affleck’s ‘guy next door’ portrayal is tone perfect and Fincher keeps him accessible to the audience focusing the camera on him throughout the ordeal. Indeed he is under the audiences microscope from the get go.
Pike not only stands out as a strong female lead here, but gives one of the memorable female performances I have seen in recent memory. She is a complex and versatile character that offers a vulnerability and she, for good or for bad, lights up every scene she is in.
The supporting cast also deliver delightful performances, in particular Kim Dickens as hard-nosed Detective Rhonda Boney, Neil Patrick Harris as Desi, Amy Dunne’s lingering past flame and of course Carrie Coon who plays Margo, Nicks devoted twin.
The films pace does slows towards the third act and the conclusion may leave many reeling, but one thing is for sure, Gone Girl is a film that will stay with you long after the credits roll, evoking much discussion and debate, and for me, that is that mark of a great film.
Summary: While I may not be rushing out to see Gone Girl again anytime soon. One cannot be anything other than captivated by what Fincher has created. Another rich multi layered narrative, brimming with social satire, style, grace and fascinating performances. With Seven, Zodiac and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in his back catalogue, Fincher has once again reaffirmed himself as the master-craftsman of the thriller genre.