Aidan F’s review published on Letterboxd:
David Fincher is a filmmaker who I’ve had a strained relationship with. I liked Se7en and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo just fine. However, I’ve taken a long time to go through his filmography largely because of his status. Half-the-time, his show-off approach to filmmaking and his incessant fandom turns me away. Case in point, no we aren’t beating that dead horse again here. But I don’t go into his films expecting to dislike them. Gone Girl is a finely crafted psychological thriller. Yet, like the best of this sub-category, it makes people reassess how their romantic relationships could have played out differently. To all my straight friends - aren’t you guys lucky to have such a loving and caring girlfriend who isn’t, well, Amy Elliott Dunne?
In all seriousness, Gone Girl initially plays out like a witch hunt. You can draw the parallels between Nick Dunne to the suspects in infamous real-life disappearances. I am unsure whether Gillian Flynn had Kate and Gerry McCann in mind when she wrote Gone Girl in novel form: the heavy scrutiny the media expressed towards the McCann’s seems palatable when compared to Dunne’s treatment in this film. However, I think to compare real-life incidents to a fictional counterpart is unwise. On the one hand, a sweet and innocent child was abducted when holiday. On the other is a psychopath who deliberately vanishes and frames her husband for her murder. It is just off-balance and a little tasteless to do so.
However, to compare another piece of fiction is the way to go. I watched Gone Girl a few days after I saw George Sluizer’s harrowing The Vanishing (both films would make an ideal double bill actually). The way Fincher uses the camera as a cold examination of Amazing Amy’s calculated methods is gripping. Raymond Lemorne’s tactics to abduct and murder is very similar. Flynn delivers this information well: it helps Rosamund Pike’s powerfully unhinged performance. I could also say the same about Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu. Both films explore the frightening mindsets of their so-called antagonists, so you get the full disturbing effect.
Gone Girl is the closest I’ve come to enjoying a Fincher helmed movie and that’s partly due to the cast - they’re phenomenal. I’m not a Ben Affleck fan, but this is arguably his best role as a person who wants his dignity back. But the performance that I think stands among Affleck and Pike is Tyler Perry as Tanner Bolt. I know the Madea franchise is cheaper than your local grocery shop; Perry falls under the Adam Sandler category of not caring. But every once in a while, Perry takes a risk at something different and he does make it pay off. Tanner Bolt is one of those rare occasions – a suave and coolheaded attorney who sees Nick as a human mangled by the consequences of lust and punishment.
It’s a technician’s film – the pulse-pounding Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross score, Jeff Cronenweth’s cold as steel cinematography, Kirk Baxter’s finely-tuned editing: everyone here is working their hearts out. What else is there to say? It’s fantastic collaboration at its finest.