The much anticipated film based on the best selling book, Gone Girl, has finally hit theaters. You better see it soon because everyone will be talking about this movie. Cue the insufferable “spoiler alerts.” The plot twists alone will make this the most talked about film this fall. It is a classic cat and mouse mystery, but you are never sure who is the cat and who is the mouse, until you know. And then you join in the fun of knowing the secret. It is a psychological thriller that keeps you on your toes. I hesitate to call it Hitchcockian, but there are undeniable similarities. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike play husband and wife. On their fifth anniversary, Amy (Pike) goes missing. The subsequent investigation turns to Nick (Affleck) as the suspect. Told through unreliable narrations by both parties of the chain of events leaves you wondering who to believe and what really happened. Enter the media to confuse things further and add to the chaos.
Gone Girl is a mystery complete with clues, but it is also an examination of the complexities of marriage. It looks at things that can strain a relationship like the loss of a job or a parent and how one’s identity can start to change with the big obstacles met in life. “You can’t solve the mystery without solving the marriage,” said Flynn about her focus on the marital relationship. Flynn actually started writing the book as a newlywed on her honeymoon. An odd time in her life to explore the darker side of marriage.
That darkness is visually represented by the adept storyteller, director David Fincher. The chaos, the doubt, and the confusion subtly seep in, instead of bombarding the viewer. Fincher cinematically illustrates the ugliness of a deteriorating marriage and the intrusiveness of the media with an understated beauty. The cast also holds up their end in executing this feel of the film. Affleck plays Nick in such a way that you just can’t figure him out and Pike demonstrates impressive range and shows she is a force to be reckoned with. Kim Dickens, Tyler Perry, Patrick Fugit, and Neil Patrick Harris are all well-cast additions. Carrie Coon’s performance as Nick’s twin sister, Margo, gets a little lost with the talent that surrounds her. Trent Reznor and Atticus Rose provide the suspenseful and skillful score. Reznor and Rose previously won an Oscar for their Original Score in Fincher’s The Social Network. The success of the filmmaking side relied on the competence of the screenwriter. Flynn has penned three successful novels, but this is her first screenplay. Fincher was confident that she was the best person to adapt the book for the screen. This seems to be a fortuitous choice. In the hands of an outsider, the story could have been practically unrecognizable and the story is the nucleus for a mystery such as this.
You will either love or hate the ending depending on how well you like your endings wrapped up. Despite the rumors, the ending does not stray from the novel’s. The press misconstrued the fact that Flynn kept rewriting the third act as completely changing the ending. Flynn and Fincher said they just let it play out, which was smart as it has added to the build up of the movie release. I saw Gone Girl described as the date night movie of the year. Sure, if you want to look at your partner a little differently at the end of the night. I’m not sure that’s the kind of mystery you want to add to your love life. Date night or not, Gone Girl proves to be a fun outing to the movies.
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