Gone Girl ★★★★½

"Gone Girl" is such a mean, nasty, almost evil film. But David Fincher and Gillian Flynn revel in the darkness and brings the satire from the novel to the forefront of the screen.

Many who haven't read "Gone Girl" dismiss it as a trashy thriller, but such a claim is not only ignorant but uninformed. Both the film and book begin as a rather straightforward thriller, that slowly backs itself into a corner, only to break the wall it's been pressed up against and become something else entirely. Revealing anything else about the plot would be a disservice to Flynn's work and first-time viewers. But let it be known: "Gone Girl" is not a simple thriller. It's a dark comedy about horrible people who eventually get what they deserve.

Whether we intend to or not, we all play roles in society. "Gone Girl" puts those roles under the microscope and asks, "What happens when we don't fit into those roles anymore?" Flynn's masterful screenplay juggles these ideas flawlessly, while also providing constant entertainment for audiences. Filled with twists, suspense, genuine shocks and a twisted sense of humor, "Gone Girl" remains entertaining for its entire runtime.

Fincher's direction is as strong as ever. He's a technical wizard, with every piece of the movie tying together perfectly. Working with his frequent editor, cinematographer and composers, "Gone Girl" is an extremely powerful piece of filmmaking. He's simply one of the best filmmakers out there and, after "Gone Girl", I'd say one of the most consistent, too.

The unusual casting choices also prove to be smart picks for the roles. Ben Affleck has never been better, and it's hard to imagine anyone else capturing the "every-man" character of Nick and the darkness hiding underneath. Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens and (shockingly) Tyler Perry are well cast, while Missi Pyle channels her best Nancy Grace and steals scenes with just a glance. But this is Rosamund Pike's show. I can't say what makes her performance so good without spoiling the entire film, but Amy Dunne is one of the most complex female characters onscreen in recent years. She does a terrific job.

"Gone Girl" is like my generation's "Fatal Attraction", but with a dark, disgustingly realistic quality to it. As crazy as the story gets, there is something uncomfortably realistic about the content and the themes it's exploring. Many will (incorrectly) call the film misogynistic, but this is a film about what happens when people are raised in a world fueled by misogyny... a world where men are raised to find a "Cool Girl" and women are raised to be that "Cool Girl." And as much as we gasp, laugh and sit on the edge of our seats during "Gone Girl", what really keeps you thinking after the credits roll is how accurate the world it depicts is.

Now that's powerful filmmaking.

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