Gone Girl is captivating.
If you’re read the Gillian Flynn best-seller, you’ll spend every minute of the film waiting for the next twist, eager to see how the moments that surprised, amused and enthralled page after page have been translated to the screen.
If you haven’t read the book, the David Fincher-directed thriller will take you on a tremendous journey. You might not like where you end up, mind you, but the journey is incredible.
Gone Girl is the story of Nick and Amy Dunne, portrayed brilliantly by Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike respectively, a couple that has hit the skids at the five year mark of their marriage. Amy goes missing and everything points to Nick.
What happened? Where is she? Why did he do it? Did he do it? Where is this going? All these questions race through your mind and ultimately get answered in suspenseful fashion, keeping you glued to the strong performances and Fincher’s traditional darkened visuals, all of which are scored by another haunting Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross soundtrack of synthesizers.
This is Fincher’s 10th film as a director and as with all his previous works, there is a social commentary at play underneath the Hollywood acting.
The director has always maintained that Fight Club, his 1999 adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel, is a comedy and there is a something about Gone Girl that feels similar. In addition to dealing with the movements and interactions taking place in the story, Fincher and Flynn, who wrote the screenplay, are also taking aim at modern society – our infatuation with celebrity life and mass consumption of tabloid stories, as well as the sensationalist nature of cable news and how they’re able to shape people’s opinions.
It’s also surprisingly funny in an uneasy, “catch you off-guard” kind of way. There aren’t jokes so much as there are instances that feel truthful and genuine, and are therefore amusing and smart. They’re “We’re the smartest people in the room” moments from Fincher and Flynn, who are taking aim at various targets and having fun shooting holes in them.
Affleck is great playing what is pretty much him – a guy that wants people to stop thinking he’s an asshole and just let him be – and Pike steps up to leading lady territory with her effort as Amy, but it’s the secondary actors that really deliver the goods here.
Carrie Coon kills every scene she’s in as Margo, Nick Dunne’s sarcastic twin sister and Kim Dickens keeps pace with her as Det. Rhonda Boney, who isn’t just another tough cop ready to lock up the first guy that looks guilty.
The most pleasant surprise is Tyler Perry as celebrity defense attorney Tanner Bolt. Maybe it’s because he’s the same man that played Madea far too many times or because his version of Alex Cross in last year’s forgottable Alex Cross was all kinds of wrong, but Perry hits every note as the lawyer with a $100,000 retainer and a penchant for helping people that look guilty try to put a less guilty spin on things.
Overall, Gone Girl isn’t as great as some of Fincher’s previous offerings, but that bar has been set pretty high. While it doesn’t reach those heights, it does stand out from a summer slate of shoot’em ups and retreads and should end up scoring a couple Academy Award nominations in a few months.