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Gone Girl

October 4, 2014

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Nick Dunne: When I think of my wife, I always think of her head.

Back in the fall of 2010, a little film came out called The Social Network.  The movie, directed by David Fincher, gained huge commercial and critical success, taking in three Oscars and several other accolades.  It defined a generation, but most importantly, because of that film I dove into the world of film critique and acquired a new taste for the art of cinema. It’s only fitting Fincher’s latest outing has gotten me back into the swing of things following a two-year hiatus. Gone Girl is a terrific film that hits all the right beats with its chilling score, stellar acting, and tight editing which all makes for great visual storytelling.  

On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) arrives home to discover that his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) is missing.  Signs of a struggle are present.  There’s a shattered coffee table, a carpet filled with glass shards, and oddly an ottoman flipped over. At first Nick seems like a harmless victim, but as he exhibits strange behavior he soon turns into a suspect.  Nick feels that the police and media are turning on him as the search for Amy continues.  But is Nick really a killer?

The marketing for this film was remarkable.  From the mysterious posters (seen below) to all the he-said-she-said material in the trailers and TV spots, I’ve been pumped for this flick since day one.  Being a big fan of the book (written by Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the movie), my anticipation was extremely high.  However it seemed like a difficult task to translate the book onto film because much of it takes place in the past and present.  But with Fincher behind the camera, my concerns were diminished and my excitement heightened. 

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Ben Affleck gets a lot of flack.  The internet blew up last year when he was announced as the new Dark Knight in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (that title…) and many label him as wooden.  I’ve never felt this way; I’m a colossal fan of Affleck’s films (Chasing Amy, Dogma, Argo, etc) and he has yet to disappoint.  Affleck has always been a solid actor in my book and I was thrilled to see him play a different type of character in Gone Girl.  He displays some true acting chops here.

It’s hard to believe that Rosamund Pike is the same actress who was in The World’s End.  Her depiction of ‘Amazing’ Amy is sensational.  Her performance is stoic and breathtaking;  I can’t remember the last time I saw a character come to life this way.  She is equal parts intimidating and fierce.  Gone Girl has a fantastic ensemble cast that includes the subtle yet solid Tyler Perry, Patrick Fugit, Kim Dickens, Carrie Coon, and Missi Pyle.  But it’s Neil Patrick Harris who stands out, turning in a surprisingly dramatic role as Amy’s obsessive ex-boyfriend.

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The film is visually appealing thanks to cinematographer Jeff Croneweth, a frequent collaborator with Fincher (he’s worked on Fight Club, The Social Network, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).  Croneweth’s style is slick and gorgeous.  The sense of place is vivid and enjoyable, making Gone Girl is a visual paradise.  The movie sounds terrific thanks to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who have provided the scores for Fincher’s previous two films.  The score plays a big part in making the atmosphere seem haunting and devilishly nail-biting.  Reznor and Ross are pretty much locked in for an Oscar nod.

Gone Girl is diabolical at times.  It is almost poetic in its storytelling the way Rosamund Pike narrates Amy and Nick’s slow crawl into pure maniacal terror.  Talk about a seriously dysfunctional relationship!  The story is told with flashbacks to the early years of Amy and Nick, which is a bit cliché but offers a satirical view of modern marriages.  Although the film is dark and brooding, it does have its moments of humor that fits well.  The story-driven plot helps things move along smoothly.  Delirious, unhinged, and utterly lunatic, Gone Girl is a breath of fresh air following a slew of mediocre films.

Gone Girl – 4 ½ out of 5

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One Comment leave one →
  1. sari wynn permalink
    October 8, 2014 8:02 pm

    i seem to find loopholes in movies. so , I’m the loophole gal: how did she get a gorgeous professional haircut when she never left Neil Patrick Harris’s house? and presumably no one came over). when she first left, she cut her own hair, so we know she can’t cut hair…?? then the clothes they must have found in the trunk, and if you are running away, you pack all the clothes (that NPH bought her?) JUST SAYIN’

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