If there were anyone more qualified to adapt Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl than David Fincher, I’d be scared to see their vision. Fincher is synonymous with this kind of material: bleak and sardonic. Thankfully, he always seems to keep a sense of humor running beneath the material; otherwise, Gone Girl could have wound up being one super-depressing film. Led by exactly the kind of leading man necessary to pull off “empathetic, yet despicable,” Ben Affleck shines as the man looking for his missing wife. He and game-for-anything Rosamund Pike play a couple from hell who give Oliver and Barbara Rose from War of the Roses a run for their money.
Nick Dunne (Affleck) is not having a cheery five-year anniversary as he stops at the bar he co-owns with his sister Margo (Carrie Coon), not looking forward to this year’s anniversary treasure hunt. After a phone call from a concerned neighbor, Nick goes home to find his wife Amy (Pike) missing.
He calls in the police, with Detectives Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) and Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit) on the scene. The clues start to pile up, with Nick looking like he might have had something to do with Amy’s disappearance, while flashbacks shed some light on where the marital strains started. With the likes of TV personality Ellen Abbott pointing her finger at Nick, eventually he is forced to bring in the help of attorney Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry) to sort through the red herrings and find Amy.
The best way to describe the tone of Fincher’s Gone Girl is to say it’s like casting a soap opera with fantastic actors and cranking the insanity up to 11. Chock full of horrible characters, the movie may make it hard to root for anyone, so the best thing to do is to sit back and bask in the audacity of it all. Flynn adapts her own novel better than anyone else could — infusing the aforementioned sense of humor. Let’s just say sometimes bat-shit-crazy characters are far more interesting on film than in a novel, and they are something Fincher is very well known for. His usual directing style comes in handy, shrouding the characters in mystery and never flinching when things start to get really twisted. And the score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross keeps an underlying menace throughout.
Affleck and Pike bring their A game, with Affleck in particular giving one of his best performances. I also wouldn’t be surprised if an Oscar nomination is in the cards for Pike, or possibly Flynn for bettering her book. As for Affleck, he’s perfectly cast as someone whose face you wouldn’t mind punching, and there are even some fun jabs made at his expense — especially his chin.
The supporting characters shine, with Coon, Dickens, and Perry never getting lost in the shuffle. I was weary of Perry, seeing how he’s been so dreadful in literally everything he’s ever been in before this, but he gets some huge laughs.
At two and a half hours, the film could have been too long, but Gone Girl is never, ever boring and keeps the audience on their toes the entire time. Gone Girl is not just one of the year’s best thrillers, but one 2014’s best films, period – absolutely do-not-miss entertainment.
Photos courtesy Twentieth Century Fox[amazon template=iframe image&asin=0307588378][amazon template=iframe image&asin=0307341577][amazon template=iframe image&asin=0307341550][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B004XKVPG6][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B001992NUQ][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B0034G4P7Q][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B003Y5H5HY][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B008CJ0JTI][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00AEFXQ5C][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B004RE29WW]