Based on Gillian Flynn’s hit novel of the same name the story of Gone Girl is told in three parts. First we find out-of-work writer Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) return home one day to find his wife Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) missing. Nick is a suspect from Day One and even the help of celebrity lawyer Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry) can’t stop the media from making him one of America’s most hated men.
The second part of the film follows Amy’s story and then the third and final act pretty much delivers the wash-up and sees Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) trying to tie up the loose ends of the case and help those that have been caught up in it all get on with their lives.
If people were asked to name a director that has been pretty much constant for releasing great films over his career many would have David Fincher on their list. With films like Se7en, Fight Club and The Social Network on his resume you could argue that he is one of the most important directors of the past twenty years. Hell, he is even one of the very few directors who have been able to make a U.S. remake of a foreign film not only something watchable but something that was a hit with both critics and the public alike.
Now comes his latest film Gone Girl, which to many film lovers has become one of the most eagerly anticipated films of 2014. So how does it fair up? Well to be honest this is probably the must un-David Fincher films that Fincher has made to date in his career, but despite saying that this is a film that certainly works and shows that there are people out there in the cinematic world who are willing to try something different and be creative in doing so.
Now the first thing you’ll notice is that I’ve been pretty vague in my description of the plot of the film. That is because if someone ruins what happens in this film for you then they are the kind of the person that you should not associate with, this is a film that you need to go into cold with. Even those that have read the novel will not get the special thrill that those who know nothing about the story will get when they view this film.
The three acts of the film being so well defined throughout the film does take some getting used to but it actually does work and you certainly aren’t going to complain when the constant twists and turns that seem to play with your mind throughout this film. Just a word of warning though don’t try to over think the criminal case part of this film because while Fincher and Flynn (who is also the screenwriter here) have been pretty smart it would only take someone who has watched a couple of episodes of C.S.I. to see that there are many flaws involved in this film’s so called ingenious criminal plot.
One of the things that really lifts this film though is the style and tone that Fincher and Flynn have brought to the table. The script heads into some pretty dark areas but unlike a film like The Lovely Bones there is also some dark humor in there designed to get a chuckle from the audience. That element brings a touch of Fargo to the film while the town setting and Fincher’s way of portraying the community and society instantly conjures up thoughts of David Lynch’s career, particularly Twin Peaks. The good thing is that these styles meld together pretty well and despite the film’s length this is a film that will keep you engrossed for the entire time without any clock-watching.
Once again though the big talking point about this film is the fact that David Fincher has once again got the most out of his cast. Many like to highlight the fact that Ben Affleck has made some horrendous films over his career (and let’s be honest films like Gigli are pretty hard to forget) but over recent years he has also become one the finest characters actors going around. Here Fincher works with that and as a result you see Affleck play Nick Dunne in such a way that as an audience you find your feelings for the guy change almost from minute-to-minute. One moment you feel sorry for him and the next you are hoping he gets the death penalty.
Fincher also directs Rosamund Pike to a performance that should see her get an Oscar nomination. She plays a character with a lot of ‘issues’ (again I don’t want to give anything away) in such a way that she conjures up thoughts of some of the performances by the leading ladies in past 90s thrillers like Basic Instinct. Even the sub-cast get a good look in here with Kim Dickens playing Fincher’s Lynch-like Detective brilliantly well, Tyler Perry finally delivering a performance that will warm him to people outside of his normal fan base while Neil Patrick Harris joins the growing list of comedic actors who are dangerously good when playing criminally minded nut-jobs.
While not as good as some of Fincher’s previous films like Se7en and The Social Network Gone Girl is still a credible film that does deserve to be listed as one of 2014’s finest. The twists and turns of the plot will captivate the audience while its slamming of today’s trial-by-media mentality also gives the audience something to ponder once the credits have rolled. The film’s unique mix of drama, suspense and dark humor should guarantee that it also stands up against the test of time.
Directors: David Fincher
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens
Release Date: 2nd October, 2014