GONE GIRL REVIEW

Gone-Girl-2014-film-poster

If you haven’t gone. Go!

One of the best films I have seen in a long time and dare I say a contender for film of the year? Can Fincher do no wrong? (Leave Alien 3 out of this!)

With his wife’s (Rosamund Pike) disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man (Ben Affleck) sees the spotlight turned on him when it’s suspected that he may not be innocent.

After seeing the heavily advertised trailers and endless hype for Gone Girl, I dreaded seeing it. I felt the trailers gave everything away and left little for me to look forward to. I went in expecting to be disappointed, praying that it will at least be watchable.

But not this time. A slow burning, tense, suspenseful murder mystery that keeps you guessing. Dark, clever and, at times, surprisingly funny with some sharp satire on the relentless media manhunt that can consume a nation and remove objectivity where it’s really needed.

The opening hour very much sets up the pieces flicking back and forth from the initial incident. We get a sense of each character. The inevitable finger pointing game begins; “I think they’re hiding something”, “He looks dodgy”, “I think he or she did it”.

Ben Affleck was fantastic and apparently battling his Batman bulk. But the real plaudits will go to Rosamund Pike. A fitting end note for a busy year of movies for her. The Oscar buzz around her performance is completely justified.

Now I will admit that I haven’t read the novel. People have told me that the book is so much better. If that be the case, I must read this book because the film was brilliant. It helps that the screenplay was adapted by the author Gillian Flynn.

I’m sure many of you have heard the twist talk. Yes, there is a big twist. That is revealed quite early on. I will not be revealing any plot points because I want people to see this. However, I did find that the twist transformed the film for me and took it to another level.

The first half of the film had chugged along quite well and certainly played on the paranoia and suspicions fantastically with the endless red herrings. But once the twist is revealed, it changes everything and how everyone was initially perceived.

My main quip with films (of late) was pace. At 165 minutes, I thought this film would test me. BUT for once, I found myself hooked and actually turning my phone off to avoid interruptions. Transfixed by the story, the acting and suspense.

The trademark cinematography (and regular Fincher stalwart) of Jeff Cronenweth certainly adds to the murky undertones flowing through the film. Fincher also has a fantastic supporting cast at his fingertips.

Tyler Perry was surprisingly good, delivering some unexpected but hilarious one liners as the ruthless smooth talking lawyer. To be honest, I wanted more to see more of his character. Sela Ward (House) and Missi Pyle (Dodgeball) were perfectly cast as the silver tongued media mouthpieces thriving on the attention focused on Affleck’s Nick.

Flynn couldn’t be any more accurate with the representation of the media surrounding the missing; the social media in particular. How a simple picture can be manipulated to mean so much more than was originally intended.

Gone Girl allowed some smaller actors the opportunity to step up. Kim Dickens (The Blind Side) was very good as the relentless detective hell bent on persecuting Nick. Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) went completely out of character. A breath of fresh air. He played the part to perfection.

Kathleen Rose Perkins was wasted in her role. Anyone could have played her. A real shame after her performance in Episodes. The real scene stealer, second to Pike, was Carrie Coon as Nick’s twin sister Margo. Coon has already made an impression after her turn in the bizarre but strangely hypnotic The Leftovers. Performances like this will certainly keep her very much on the watch list.

I felt the ending fitted the film perfectly but others may find it a little too abrupt and open. It is always a risk when everything pieces together that the final unravelling may disappoint. BUT there is certainly a lot more to this than meets the eye.

A film that very much lives up to the hype. Tense, suspenseful, dark, engaging. GO SEE NOW.

4/5

Yes, a 4! Finally a film to break the endless ranting and raving from this reviewer.

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4 thoughts on “GONE GIRL REVIEW

  1. Great write-up!

    I watched this movie without any expectations at all, but only because I went in after not having seen anything — no trailer, no magazine features, no recaps; and I hadn’t read the book, either. I wasn’t even sure I was going to see it, a friend of mine and I more or less stumbled upon it on vacation. We had an afternoon to spare, so we went — and man, that paid off.

    What I love about it (and this really only works if you don’t know the source material, ’cause then when it hits you) is that you can feel your allegiances being wrenched out of your control once you realise that Amy is the mother of all unreliable narrators. It throws a wrench in your gears once you know that she’s been playing with your perception and your expectations of the workings of marriage, gender power dynamics, and human behaviour.
    I can’t even decide which medium is the better vehicle for this. Of course, a novel draws you in, it keeps you more finely attuned to what’s going on for a longer period of time, making the shock of realising that the world you’ve been constructing in your head, via those words, was one big damn lie. Then again, I loved seeing this as a movie simply because it’s a rollercoaster. For 165 minutes, you’re bound to these people, for better or for worse (ha!). You can’t control what they throw at you, and the twist and turns of Amy’s narration make this a wild ride. It works both fast and on the slow path.

    1. Thank you and bang on with your comments! I couldn’t put it better myself. It’s these sort of stories that deserve to be adapted. Stories that should be films over all the other rubbish. Stories that surprise, engage and intrigue. Amy’s narration built up and destroyed perceptions within a few words. Unexpected twists. A true rollercoaster ride. More films should look to this or find novels of this caliper instead of producing the same old predictable guff lol!

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