Gone Girl isn’t the movie you’ll be told it is. It’s better. It isn’t a thriller “torn from today’s headlines” or from obsessive media coverage of this or that true crime scandal, though at first it pretends to be. It’s more original.
It isn’t a masterful maze of twists and surprises, although that works if you want it to. You’ll know who saw it in that light as you walk out of the theater and hear them say, “It was good but ran a little long.”
What Gone Girl is is the story of love finding its way in the lives of two weird, normal, perverse souls who are, blame God or evolution, made for each other. And understandably, to the extent we are sociopaths lacking inhibitions, the sex should be better, right?
The thing is, it’s both. It’s a play on the public scandals that appear so faithfully, and it’s something else, running on parallel tracks. It is our story, a universal love story with the irrational magnified through the dark glass of our mad, modern world. Oh, a touch more violent than ours, perhaps. More dark humour, or not. But it is our journey, through fascination, obsession, repulsion and the final absurd striking of a lover’s bargain. We can work it out. Goodnight sweetheart.
Rosamond Pike won the part over other gifted actors and turned in an inspired performance as Amy, the wife who disappears on her fourth wedding anniversary. Ben Affleck is pitch perfect as Nick, the man not quite genuine as the heartbroken husband but quite believable as the suspect in his wife’s murder. Will anyone question Affleck’s acting chops again anytime soon? Amy’s gone but where’s the body? Missing person or murder? There is something not quite right about this bereaved husband, something inappropriate in his behaviour, and the public is quick to turn on him. What if our relationships were played out on tabloid T.V.?
The news media was portrayed as the bottom feeders that have earned them deserved public scorn.
Tyler Perry was a gas as the defense lawyer, lovable and cynical all at once. He gives his client some excellent legal advice: “You’ve got the book, the movie rights… just don’t piss her off.”
At two and a half hours the film was a little too – short. Surprise! Yeah, I wanted to follow subsequent events as they evolved into some new species.
It has already reached the point, before this movie, where the disappearance of a family member is the commencement of a media circus social roller-coaster with the public’s’ suspicions and loyalties shifting wildly with every new development. Now the theory mills will churn on overdrive. We’ll all be looking for the usual and the unusual suspects. The too-young girl friend. The stalker boyfriend. The insurance policy. The zany parental influences. Gone Girl it will be lurking there at the back of our minds.
Director David Fincher scores another brilliant addition to a growing body of awesome work, such as Panic Room, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Media, Fight Club – and more.
Director: David Fincher
Writers: Gillian Flynn (screenplay), Gillian Flynn (novel)
Stars: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris
Runtime: 145 min