Review: “Gone Girl”

Gone Girl

Remember when I had a blog that I made pretty consistent posts on?

After a month-long absence, it only makes sense to review a film about the disappearance of a woman in a small Missouri town.

Originally the work of writer Gillian Flynn, “Gone Girl” chronicles the disappearance of Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) and the investigation by Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) into her husband, Nick (Ben Affleck).

Amy and Nick spark a fairy tale romance when they meet at a party in New York City. A few years into their marriage, they are forced to move from NYC to North Carthage, Missouri to care for Nick’s ailing mother. Financial woes and Amy’s loss of her New York identity set the couple up for disastrous consequences.

On the morning of their fifth anniversary, Amy disappears into thin air, broken glass on the living room floor and a small blood splatter the only trace of her plight. As the investigation gears up and the media closes in, we learn the truth about Nick and Amy’s marriage and the kind of people they each are.

A true master of murder mysteries on the silver screen, David Fincher directs this compelling tale with true precision. There are very few directors in the game that can create an atmosphere quite like Fincher. Films like “Se7en”, “Zodiac”, and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” all display his talent for soaking a film in mystery and creating a world that fits its dark characters. Here he works again with cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth to build the perfect environment for Flynn’s novel.

Fincher’s recent collaborator, Trent Reznor, also provides the music for “Gone Girl”, giving the right balance of murder mystery, heartfelt moments and pure psychosis.

Built on the strong foundation of its source material, the film condenses the narrative without betraying the original story. There are plenty of twists and downright uncomfortable moments in the film, just like in the book, and Fincher and Flynn (who also wrote the screenplay) do well to determine which parts of the story are necessary or work for a feature film. That being said, there are still one or two disappointing factors from the book that made it into the film.

As someone who read the novel, I went in concerned with how the story would be translated without the benefit of knowing the inner thoughts of Amy and Nick. Fortunately, both actors (especially Affleck) knocked it out of the park. Everything about these characters from the book make perfect sense based solely on how they are played by Affleck and Pike. On top of these two strong performances, the supporting cast of Dickens, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry and Carrie Coon is outstanding.

Despite being just shy of 2 1/2 hours long, the film moves at a pretty brisk pace as it tells the story from the viewpoints of several different characters. It may just be the fact that the book is over 400 pages, but each milestone of the story appeared to fly by at an alarming speed to me. That’s probably why most people enjoy films more than books.

In a year that’s been fairly light on quality films, “Gone Girl” is the perfect transition from summer blockbusters to the more serious fall pictures.

Grade: A-

Happy viewing.

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