Review: GONE GIRL

NO. SPOILERS.

NO. SPOILERS.

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On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne reports that his wife, Amy, has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?

The last time I reviewed a Fincher film on this website of mine, it was the 2011 Aaron Sorkin scripted, Facebook-flick, The Social Network. Since then he’s directed [a re-make of] The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as well as a couple of episodes of [the rather fantastic] House of Cards.

GONE GIRL, the film of the book (no, I haven’t read it), is Fincher’s latest effort and boy, it is a doozy.

There are few directors that get me frothing at the mouth with every new production – Nolan, Tarantino, Aronofsky, to name but three. Fincher also sits in that list. I fell in love with his work when I saw Fight Club (mind-blowing) back in 1999.

After that I explored back through The Game (mind-f***) and Se7en (visceral) and then worked forward into Panic Room (meh) and then Zodiac (over-long, but good enough to forgive). I didn’t think Dragon Tattoo was superb. Serviceable, yes. Classic Fincher? Certainly not. Social Network was very good – and then House of Cards reminded me that I missed him in film. In short: to say I was looking forward to GONE GIRL would be an understatement.

So much so I’m just happily tweeting typos…

And I was not disappointed.

Let’s start with the cast: Ben Affleck, as husband-in-search-of-missing-wife, Nick Dunne is a masterclass on playing Mr Average.

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Relationships are weird things and, in every relationship, people behave in different ways and in this, Affleck delivers (nothing about this film makes him a superhero, but the weight of the world that he carries throughout? He will indeed make a great Batman) – I like it a LOT when good actors remind you just how good they are.

Playing the disappeared-wife, whose back story is told through diary entries along the way, Rosamund Pike excels. I’ll be honest, I’ve never really taken to her much in the stuff I’ve seen her in but in this, probably her best and yet most challenging work to date, Pike is on top form. It’s not an easy journey her character goes on and, at times, it’s a tough sell. I can’t imagine anyone else nailing it as well as she does.  

Neil Patrick Harris gets third billing but it’s Carrie Coon who really should be next on the list. Playing Ben Affleck’s ever-supportive / ever-present twin sister, Margot, Coon grounds the movie with emotion and brings the audiences questions to life without verging too much into exposition. That’s not to be mean to NPH, mind. His short but impactful performance is just the right side of sinister – and that’s all you need to know.

About all of it, in fact.

Yes, Trent Reznor’s scoring of the film is outstanding. And yes, the 149 minute run time keeps you gripped from start to finish. But to say any more would be giving hints as to where the film takes you and I’m telling now, going in ‘dark’, without knowing a thing, is probably the best way to see this film. GONE GIRL is a twisting, turning tale of the darkness that occurs in relationships. The stuff you don’t see, the stuff that both deny. The stuff that all of us have seen – or at least heard of.

It’ll push you to your limits of belief and it will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. It will thrill you, make you question those around you, and it will make you feel sick.

But it does it so well.

I really did leave the cinema completely stunned by just how good it was. Writing this now, several hours later, and I’m still thinking about it. At times, it reminded me of Social Network, at others, Fight Club. The dark humour that spills through the celluloid during the film’s third act is to be enjoyed and revelled in.

GONE GIRL is a fantastically dark film.

GONE GIRL is Fincher at his best.

GONE GIRL is my film of 2014.

It might be yours too.

See it.

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