Trouble and strife
Gone Girl (2014)
It’s not often that I recommend that you don’t read my reviews, but I kinda have to in this case. So, if you’re planning to see it and haven’t yet, I suggest you do just that, close this review and go in blind. A lot of the film’s entertainment value is from the twisty-turny plot and various revelations and it’s unfair to the film to discuss in any great detail. I’m going to endeavour to be as vague as I can, but it’s tough to review a film where the meaty stuff is on the spoilery side of the tracks. So, if you’re mental enough to be waiting on my dumb opinion before you go and see stuff, take my hearty recommendation of the film and piss off to the multiplex. For the rest of you, here’s what I done thought about David Fincher’s latest:
“You ever hear the expression the simplest answer is often the correct one?”
“Actually, I have never found that to be true.”
Gone Girl tells the story of Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) who returns home to find his furniture askew and, more importantly, his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), missing. Amy is semi-famous thanks to a well-known children’s book series, written by her parents, being based on her. The missing persons case soon turns into a murder enquiry. Thanks to the media’s vulture-like obsession with real life drama which is in turn exacerbated by Amy’s claim to fame, Nick’s life turns into a media circus with public opinion soon turning against him and considering him guilty despite his protests of innocence.
And that right there is about as much as I can tell you and we’re not even a third of a way through the film. Having not read Gillian Flynn’s book, I can certainly see why so many people have had their noses buried in it since it came out a few years ago. With the constant rug pulls and blindsides, I can appreciate that it must be a proper page-turner. The cast are excellent. Ben Affleck gives an understated but effective performance as Nick. He seems like the perfect person to play this part and at times it felt the film was playing on the actor’s own (pre- recent Oscar winning Benaissance) portrayal in the media. Many of the complaints I heard about him signing on to play Batman was the fact that he seemed like a smug, pretty boy arsehole (Jesus, those last three words are going to get me a lot of disappointed hits). Well, that’s the public’s opinion of Nick. He’s raked across the coals by the media and vicious current affairs commentary by the detestable, but all-too-real Fox News host-a-like Ellen Abbott (Missi Pyle) and presented with this new narrative, the public sour on the initial empathy they felt for him. It’s some smart stuntcasting and a part that Da Fleck could bring a wealth of personal experience to. Rosamund Pike. Well. This may be a career-shaping performance for her. Up until this point, I’ve only seen her as a plummy-voiced, eye-rolling foil to action dudes, be it in the rubbish Bond flick Die Another Day or more recently in Jack Reacher. This shows a whole new side (several sides, actually) to her and by Christ, is she good. Worth recommending the film for her alone. The rest of the cast are also top notch. Carrie Coon, playing Nick’s sister Margo is brilliant, giving us a very real-feeling supportive sibling. Neil Patrick Harris shows up as an ex of Amy’s and does a lot with what he’s given. Kim Dickens plays a no-nonsense Detective and knocks it out of the park. Even Tyler Perry, who normally dons a grey wig and a fat suit to play grandmother with attitude Madea, puts in an impressive turn as the media savvy defence lawyer Tanner Bolt.
Gone Girl is meant to be enjoyed like a rollercoaster ride. The ups, downs and sharp turns are all part of it and so I’m steering well clear of those. Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave me much left to focus on since I’m a story guy and I usually work the narrative ribs. What I can say is that the screenplay (also written by Gillian Flynn) is sharp and full of black comedy. This may be one of the most darkly comic films I’ve seen. David Fincher’s direction is masterful, although intentionally muted compared to his more show-offy films like The Social Network or Panic Room. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are pretty much my favourite composers now. Their subtle but unsettling electronic score is perfect for this film.
“What are you thinking? What are you feeling? What have we done to each other? What will we do?”
So yeah, hope you’ve enjoyed this non-review. I intend to do a full-on redux review around the time it comes to DVD. Go and see it.