Gone Girl

Gone Girl ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

”You fucking cunt!”

One thing is for sure. In 20 years’ time we’ll put Rosamund Pike’s Amazing Amy alongside likes of Hannibal Lecter, Jack Torrence and Annie Wilkes (from Misery) as one of the most threatening, charismatic and spine-chilling villains of contemporary cinema. As always it’s the devil inside us that fascinates David Fincher and this time he creates a maze of beautiful lies, puts two cute people who deceive each other and themselves in the middle of it and then shows us the tragedy that happens when those people desperately try to regain their lost identities.

Gone Girl is a bitter and cynic (realistic?) ballad that dares to portray a modern society with all its problems, it shows us that beneath the brittle facade of glaring smiles and exciting dreams lies a nauseating collection of rotten souls, sickening deceptions and repulsive actions. Fincher has always been a cynic. From Se7en to Zodiac to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo he has always created worlds where mankind’s hideous and wicked acts have led to situations which are simply hopeless. Like Stanley Kubrick, Roman Polanski, Paul Verhoeven and David Lynch it is that complex and mysterious dark side of us humans that intrigues him. Where others see American Dream he sees American Nightmare.

Fabrication and manipulation of truth is one of the central themes of Gone Girl. Fincher draws our attention toward something which might seem silly at first but when you think about it you realize that in fact it’s one of the most terrifying things we do: in order to convince someone else to like us we change ourselves, we lie, we pretend that we like the things that the other person likes, we pretend that we respect their opinion. To put it simply we put our real selves aside, wear a mask and we become someone else. Someone more likable. This is terrifying because consciously or subconsciously we are doing this all the time, we are in a constant process of deceiving and getting deceived. This is where the real evil comes from.

This cycle goes on and on and soon everyone falls in love with lies. And this is where Fincher’s skepticism about technology and media comes into play. And what a perfect time to bring such an issue to our attention. In a time when cheap TV shows and celebrity magazines are disgustingly dramatizing every little act of kings and queens of narcissism (aka celebrities) and with the help of social media create ghastly pitiful circuses he warns us about the ignorance and silliness that is gradually replacing logic and common sense. Like The Game everyone’s a puppet here. Control, confidence and free will are delusions. Amazing Amy is not an idiot, she knows the society and she knows what she should do in order to win this game. She needs to tell sweet lies. People love to hear lies.

It’s easy to overlook Gone Girl as just another simple, well-crafted typical Hollywood thriller. In fact that applies to most of Fincher’s films. On the surface they look quite generic, the stories are simple, it’s easy to classify his characters as problematic good guys and wise bad guys and he is so smooth when it comes to embedding the “deep issues” into his stories and so skillful when it comes to narrating the “plot” that you can easily ignore the profound side of his movies and simply call him a technician who knows how to tell a twisty story (let’s not forget that most directors can’t even do that). But what makes Fincher one of the most brilliant directors of our times is that he expertly blurs the line between popcorn B-movies and dark artsy neo-noirs. He gives his viewers a choice, they can dig deep and face the thought-provoking stuff or they can only look at the surface and pretend that nothing has happened.

From a formal point of view Gone Girl is without a doubt one of the most well-crafted films of the last decade. The cold and gray colors of Jeff Cronenweth’s camera meet with Kirk Baxter’s heart-stopping editing (with all its various fade-ins, fade-outs and dissolves) and the menacing and nerve-racking score of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and they create such a unique, powerful and overwhelming atmosphere which can’t be forgotten easily. Just look at the scene where Amy “slaughters” her previous “love”. Film making at its finest and most gripping. Seriously what else do we want from a good movie?!

Affleck and Pike are flawless in their portrayal of a “fucked-up” couple, they both create characters which are hard to classify as good or bad, hero or villain, likable or abominable. How can one forget the hair-raising voice of Rosamund Pike when she is telling us about her dreadful past? Or Affleck’s eyes when her “beloved” wife finally comes back? Without a doubt two of the best performances of the year.

Gone Girl is a dark, violent and profound study of us humans in 21stcentury. Another impressive movie from David Fincher.    

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