Gone Girl

Gone Girl ★★★★½

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

This review may contain spoilers.

After hearing that David Fincher was attached to direct Gone Girl, I knew Gillian Flynn's book was in good hands. The casting of Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike made me nervous (for the former) and excited (for the latter). Having read the book, I had my own visions of certain scenes and of who I would've liked to see as the characters. Fincher's thorough understanding of the material totally exceeded my expectations. Gone Girl is one of the most thrilling theatre experiences of the year. Fincher's precise editing and incisive direction match the tone of the book to perfection. Just as I hung onto every word in the book, I was at the edge of my seat during every scene in the film. Flynn makes a seamless transition from page to screen. Her biting screenplay never misses a beat. She raises really interesting points about the institution of marriage and turns the concept of two people being "perfect" for each other on its head.

Rosamund Pike pulls off what I consider one of the hardest characters to play. "Amazing" Amy constantly peels off layers and applies new ones. She's calculated and emotionally messy. The fear that Amy instills in the book is palpable on the screen. Her scenes with Desi Collings (Neil Patrick Harris) in particular are unforgettable. There's a scene of Amy pretending to be in pain for the surveillance cameras in Desi's home, just so that she'll have "evidence" that he was indeed violent towards her. She alludes to that footage later on in the scene at the hospital, having "escaped" from him; when asked if she feels safe to return home to her husband, she flashes an unsettling smile. Much like Amy's characterization in the book, Pike's performance is made up of striking little moments that speak a thousand words.

To my surprise, Ben Affleck was a great fit for his character. An interesting point was brought up in various reviews about the public scrutiny that Nick Dunne endures and how Affleck can relate to a similar kind of scrutiny, living in the public eye and all. Also, there's something complacent in Nick's eagerness to be polite all the time; Affleck captures that quality really well. Carrie Coon deserves a shoutout as Nick's sister, Margo. The majority of the cast bring their characters to life, notably Kim Dickens as Detective Boney and Scoot McNairy as Tommy O'Hara. Tyler Perry, Missi Pyle, and Patrick Fugit also stand out. A lot has been made about the casting of Neil Patrick Harris; while I didn't like his performance, I didn't dislike it either. I just felt totally indifferent towards him, which didn't really take away from what the film does excel at.

Despite already knowing the direction that the story would go in, I still felt just as shocked and just as disgusted at post-reveal Amy as I did while reading it all unfold in the book. Gone Girl is a wild treat that fires on all cylinders and paints a portrait of what will go down as one of the most fucked up relationships in cinematic history.

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