Gone Girl

Gone Girl ★★★★½

Marriage is tough. Gone Girl is a thriller which shows just how tough it can be.

Amy and Nick are a couple whose relationship is dying a slow, painful death. Amy goes missing on the 5th anniversary of their marriage, and all of the clues seem to point to foul play by Nick. However, the truth may turn out to be even more disturbing.

I enjoyed the source material; Gillian Flynn’s original book rode the line perfectly between being a sophisticated novel about relationships and a trashy airport thriller. Flynn’s prose appears at certain points in the film such as the opening monologue and the famous ‘cool girl’ speech, and it works well with the cold, detached atmosphere David Fincher creates.

The casting is perfect with Ben Affleck as the charming but sleazy Nick, who is somewhere between alpha male and weasel. He is convincing as a jerk who is able to superficially seem like a great guy, which Affleck himself has something of a reputation for.

The deeper performance of the two leads comes from Rosamund Pike, who as Amy needs to effectively play several different characters whilst still maintaining the person underneath. She is both a damaged individual and a controlling, angry monster, whilst never losing her poise and cool exterior. Neil Patrick Harris steps outside of his usual range in a supporting role, playing Amy’s creepy and obsessive ex-boyfriend.

David Fincher’s skill in exploring the dark secrets under the shiny surface of life makes him a perfect match for this material. Nick at one point needs to put on a show of remorse for his misdeeds, and it’s disturbingly ironic to see the way that the superficial public and news cycle can reverse itself on the basis of one good TV interview. Nick’s unhealthy and surface-level relationship with the press mirrors the dynamics of his relationship with Amy.

The neighbourhood Nick and Amy live in may seem normal, but we know that underneath it’s a mess of nightmarishly dysfunctional relationships. The glossiness and cleanness of everything on screen is a great contrast to the horror of the situation.

Gone Girl is a brilliantly constructed film which more than lives up to the book and Fincher’s previous work. The movie is both literally and figuratively dark- you might want to watch in a well-lighted room.

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