Jaker’s review published on Letterboxd:
“What have we done to each other? What will we do?”
Gillian Flynn’s masterpiece “Gone Girl” is one of my favourite novels of all time. Not just because of its devilish cunning and wringing tension, but because, in a very unfortunate way, it spoke to me. That’s why it’s pleasant to see that David Fincher’s film adaptation is so universally beloved and praised, as page-to-screen adaptations so often aren’t. Perhaps that’s because Flynn herself helmed the screenplay, or because of Fincher’s well earned ethos.
Either way, the two are a perfect *marriage* of talent, and “Gone Girl” is as wicked and cold-blooded as Amy Dunne herself.
Fincher isn’t one for flashy, experimental concepts, and due to this I’ve often overlooked him as a “visionary” for films like “Zodiac” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (save for “Fight Club”, the only one of his films i’ve previously liked). However, I’ve started looking at him more as a director who specialises in hypnotic hyper-realism; a visual style so invisible and modest that it makes the audience feel like they are looking at the film through a security camera. It’s incredibly investing, and is what makes Fincher such a master at thrillers.
Flynn’s a brilliant writer, of course. Her dialogue is her draw, though I will admit it sounds BRILLIANT when being read in a novel, but unrealistic and over-theatrical when spoken aloud by serious actors. The awkwardness wore off quickly, though. Speaking of these performances, Rosamund Pike would be considered among the greatest actresses of the decade... if she wasn’t taking so many terrible, obscure roles nowadays. “Gone Girl” proves she’s absolutely brilliant, and it’s a shame Hollywood hasn’t been keeping in touch with her. She IS Amy Dunne. Ben Affleck is also great; the perfect storm of despicable and sympathetic. Batman didn’t deserve him.
Certain parts of the editing are genuinely... bad? Specifically, transitions between Nick and Amy’s perspectives. The fades in and out are far too quick and clumsy, and get more and more jarring the more frequent they become. Also, the onscreen text (credits, times/places) displayed for way too short a time. I’m supposed to be used to reading subtitles and the like, but was struggling here. Another subjective downside for me was that this is a film reliant on its mystery, and thus its surprises and revelations. Since i’ve already read the book, I felt I couldn’t engage with it as much as i did back then. But if it weren’t for my prior knowledge, I know I would be having a RIOT watching this.
“Gone Girl” is a brilliant mystery thriller that should not be overlooked when considering the best of the decade. I’m still on the fence when it comes to Fincher, but I’m glad that the adaptation could greatly live up to its origin.
- Disappointed at how Fincher went about the “murder scene”. There’s these terribly fake looking “light flickers” plucked straight out of a bad horror movie. Really distracting, cheap and unnecessary.
-Really upset that the film didn’t use the very ending of the book. When I read that last paragraph, my jaw dropped to the floor. I think the film lost a bit of meaning in its exclusion.
- Poor Neil Patrick Harris, constantly having to convince the audience that he’s not only straight, but a creepy, grimy womaniser since “HIMYM”
-I hear there was a time when Brad Pitt and Reese Witherspoon were being considered as Nick and Amy... okay...
- This movie/novel is really a whole metaphor for cancel culture... before cancel culture existed. Also a massive dig on Wendy Williams and others like her (greatly deserved).