Gone Girl (2014)
Starring: Ben Affleck (Argo), Rosamund Pike (Jack Reacher)
David Fincher is on something of a roll. Zodiac, Benjamin Button, The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo…it is a recent resume that the best Directors in the world would die for. Incidentally, death is something Fincher is accustomed to making films about, from the Zodiac Killer to Kevin Spacey’s cold-blooded John Doe in Se7en.
In Gone Girl, the world’s media believes Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, killed his wife Amy Elliott Dunne, played by Rosamund Pike, on the morning of their 5th anniversary. Nick Dunne is not in the shadows like the Zodiac, or proud of his achievements like John Doe, he is an entirely different beast. He is a regular, quiet guy, who at first doesn’t seem capable of murder. For the first time in a David Fincher film the suspect is the lead character. The audience is asked to spend their time with Nick Dunne, we are challenged to trust him and root for him.
As the media creeps in on him and the pressure begins to mount, Gone Girl takes us on a journey analysing the state of modern social networking, the realities of a loveless marriage, and the lengths one will go to to achieve their desires.
Gone Girl is the technical and visual masterclass you expect from David Fincher. Film after film from under his wing comes dripping with luscious imagery and tension as tight as a cable tie squeezing round your ribs, and this one is no different. At times Gone Girl grips you like no other, like cinema should and can when done properly.
There are other times when you feel as if it is Fincher in third gear. While Gone Girl impresses, it doesn’t demand worship like Zodiac or Se7en. Some of it is just too safe like a Friday night crime series, but it is largely saved by a visceral and shocking performance from Rosamund Pike; portraying emotions and sides to her skill that most wouldn’t have known existed.
Ben Affleck excels in his ambiguous role, teetering on the knife-edge of trustworthiness, schmuck, seediness and rage. The audience’s opinion of his Nick Dunne is slick and changeable, like blood in bathwater.
As book adaptations go, Gillian Flynn has done a good job transferring her hit from page to screen. The right amount is preserved, and the less-necessary plot lines are intelligently omitted. There are weaknesses; the dread of Nick Dunne’s potential incrimination in the case isn’t translated as well on film, and Neil Patrick Harris does his best with a role massively stripped down from being interesting to just being a plot point.
In Gone Girl we might just have the perfect break-up movie. See with your spouse at your peril.
Summary: Fincher has bettered his adaptation of Dragon Tattoo and lengthened his solid streak – but where has the spark gone? Where is that fresh, perverted, genius Fincher that we haven’t seen since Se7en, Zodiac at best?
Rating: 3 out of 5
Seen Gone Girl and NOT seen Ben Affleck’s reported full frontal? Click here to see that you’re not alone…
And then why not pop over to see the Top 5 Shocking Moments of Nudity in Movies!