Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014)

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My year-long excitement over this project has come to an end. Early this month, the film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s extremely popular novel Gone Girl has finally been released. This was my most anticipated film of 2014. The overwhelming positive reception of the book made me curious about it so I bought it late last year after the casting was announced. I love mystery stories so I knew I would like this.

After seeing the film, together with amazement and happiness there were feelings of regret because I read the book before so I knew what would happen. But my consolation was my experience of reading the book. My reactions to the twists are the same with those who watched the film unaware of them. Anyway, Gone Girl is a great story, very suspenseful and full of revelations, but there is more to it than just reversals of fortune.

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For those who don’t know, Gone Girl tells the story of Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and the disappearance of his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), on their fifth anniversary. Nick met his wife Amy back when both of them lived in New York, before the recession which cost them their jobs. Now they live in Missouri, in Nick’s hometown, where he owns a bar with his twin sister, Margo (Carrie Coon). On the morning of their fifth anniversary, Amy disappears without a trace, creating a media frenzy with Nick being the focus and main suspect.

Even though I read the book and knew the story, there was still a chance of the film adaptation taking a different turn. But it turned out to be quite faithful to the novel, getting rid of a few characters that weren’t essential to the story and changing little parts of the main story that didn’t hurt the the output. Still, I was glued to the screen for the whole time, seeing how these characters were brought to life. It was an exciting viewing.

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For me, Gone Girl mostly is a great mystery, a tense fictional story, with not a lot of things to say about society. The only parts it refers to is how we pretend to be someone else when we start a relationship. And the other one being how crazy the media goes with this kind of shocking cases like disappearances, unsolved murders that mostly involve ordinary people. It reminded me of how I felt when there was some big case on TV like a disappearance and how people reacted to it, the suspects and discussions on TV. But beside this, Gone Girl is just an exciting half mystery, half suspense story, a twisted one that is meant to entertain and not take very seriously. I’m referring to the accusations of the film being misogynistic which come from people who are reading too much into it. Just enjoy the ride. There is so much to get out of this experience.

I think Gone Girl qualifies as good Fincher, in the same league as Zodiac and Fight Club. It’s a difficult book to adapt to screen, with multiple narrators, game-changing twists and eerie atmosphere that only few directors can handle. The novel does create a complete portrait of the characters but I believe the film captured their essence pretty well. Also, the casting is exceptional. Perfect for every character from major to minor.

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Being a story about people pretending to be something that they’re not, the lead roles are quite juicy. More the part of Amy than that of Nick. Ben Affleck was never known for his versatility as an actor but here he does great work. Nick is charming at times and weak dumb and uninteresting most of the time. Just as I imagined him to be. But the film is Rosamund Pike’s playground. Amy is one hell of a role, with so many different emotions to convey which Pike hits at all times. I’m glad to see people getting interested in her. It’s nice to see an actor getting finally recognized. I hope this role brings her a lot of recognition and many more interesting skins to get into. As I said before, the actors are perfectly cast. From Kim Dickens’ Detective Boney to Carrie Coon’s Margo Dunne and Tyler Perry’s Tanner Bolt to Neal Patrick Harris’ Desi Collings, everyone is put in the right place. I also couldn’t have thought of a better actress than Missi Pyle for the role of Ellen Abbott. She is so good at playing these annoying ladies.

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Visually, it’s a typically well shot Fincher film. I don’t know how to express it, but I find his films recognizable. Their quality is something I believe is part of his style. The score is again something that works wonderfully with the story. I’m getting used to having a score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for each of his films. An orchestral one wouldn’t have worked. It’s a more modern setting than usual.

There’s so much more to say about this film. I’m just glad the director did the book justice and gathered the right people to make the best of it. It’s such a twisted and fun story with some great performances from a perfectly cast series of actors. I can’t wait to see it again once it gets to DVD. But if you haven’t seen it yet, please do that as soon as possible.

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