Gone Girl plays on so many levels that even after a couple of days of watching it, I am unable to collect all my thoughts together and group them into a review. But, a review must be done and a film that has wrecked my brain so much already, might continue to do so, thus it is better that I get the review out of the way for now.
Having watched the film without reading the book, I was glad that all the twists and turns that come up at just the right moments were extremely satisfying, although after the big reveal in the middle things did get a tad predictable, David Fincher still manages to bundle the story so well that not for a moment did it feel like it was dragging on, especially towards the end, and the excitement and anticipation lingers well after the last scene is over.
The story revolves around the disappearance of Amy Dunne brilliantly played by Rosamund Pike, and how this leads to her husband Nick becoming the primary suspect. Ben Affleck as Nick too gives an outstanding performance as the “smug” husband who disliked his wife, and was on the verge of divorcing her, but cannot give away his true feelings for the fear of being judged by law enforcement and the public.
Gone Girl is a social commentary when you look at it as a whole; Amy’s parents using her disappearance to promote their best selling books “Amazing Amy” that are based on her life or the media making a mockery of everything that happens especially eager to pin the disappearance on a target that they find in the husband. But when you look a little deeper, just like through the developing cracks in the marriage between Amy and Nick, we get to see human nature at its rawest form. Adultery, mistrust, expectations, burdens, and societal pressures, all add up and add to the obscurity of the disappearance. Until that is, we the audience, are given the facts half way through. Amy’s “truth” comes along as a shock, but what is even more alarming is the slow realization of her sociopathic nature, one that is calm and calculating, for this gives us one of cinema’s most frightening villains in recent years considering how she is able to manipulate the people around her without a hint of remorse or guilt.
Why is the film so brilliant? Because it’s trilling without trying to be, and the credit for that goes to both the author of the book the film is based on and the director. There are no car chases, no big explosions, no fights, rather the thrill and the horror lies in the dialogues and the subtle conversations that happen between the characters, that results in the big truth about the situation and the eventual realization of the facts by the characters.
In addition, Gone Girl also benefits from a cast that is perfect. Rosamund Pike as the mastermind behind it all gives an Oscar worthy performance of a woman that has a way with men, but also one who knows her limits and adapts accordingly as we see her change, chameleon like, when she is mugged at the motel she is hiding at. Ben Affleck starts off as someone who is in command of the situation and doesn't really let it get to him, but slowly we see the desperation seep into him, especially once Amy returns and he is unable to just let go of the deception. Carrie Coon as Nick’s twin-sister Margo is another noteworthy performance, but it is the relationship between the brother and sister that truly stands out. The only unfortunate casting seems to be that of Neil Patrick Harris as one of Amy’s exes who comes to her rescue. While Neil is perfect for the role, borderline sinister at times, the character just isn't meaty enough and could have been a great supporting role had he been given more screen time.
The film isn't without faults though as certain characters are left hanging and parts of the story left unresolved. But, just as is the case with most book-to-film adaptations I presume that these characters, such as that of Andie, Nick’s girlfriend, are better sketched out in the book.
In Gone Girl, Fincher creates a tense atmosphere with deception, truth, and reality and in doing so the two and a half hour plus film seems to breeze through, though moodily, giving the audience an unconventional thriller that packs in the right amount of mystery with stellar performances.