Gone Girl

Gone Girl ★★★★½

"We are partners in crime"
-Nick Dunne

Gone Girl was I think to most film-lovers one of the most anticipated movies of the year. It was based on a best-seller that had gained some weighty controversy and it was directed by David Fincher. Fincher is undeniably one of the highest regarded directors today and deservedly so. The man has a great career on his back as he has produced some of the most influential pictures of the last twenty years such as Fight Club, Se7en and The Social Network. Fincher is an audience pleaser that makes fun exciting satisfying pieces that have some world class film-making in them. I was trying to keep my expectations down but I ain’t gonna lie, I hoped to find one of the year’s best films in Gone Girl.

Gone Girl is Directed by David Fincher and it stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Missi Pyle, Patrick Fugit, Kim Dickens, Casey Wilson, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Emily Ratajkowski and Scoot McNairy.
“On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne reports that his wife, Amy, has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick's portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?”

First of all: Yes!
You know there are few things that feel as good as going into a film with high expectations and then leave the theater and truly feel that the picture matched those. Gone Girl is one of those pictures. This was just the best movie going experience I had in a long time. Many would probably think that the adjective fun would probably not fit the description of the film since it deals with themes like: rape, murder and it is overall full of explicit R-Rated content. But the truth is that the film is exactly that; it’s a hell of a time at the movies. It’s dark, brutal, tense but often funny and super intelligent. Just a living and breathing exciting piece of film-making that’s certainly the best I have seen all year.

This is a film that gives me hope. For every Tyler Perry movie there is one of these. I hadn’t had this good of a movie experience in a while. This film had me laughing and it had me on the edge of my seat cringing. This is a twisty ass picture. I never knew which turn it was going to take next; even though the film gives away what we think it is the stories main twist quite early on. Though a little bit foreseeable I was still blown away with the boldness and relentlessness of the revelation. I was jumping on my seat; I could not believe the film had misled me so perfectly well. Fincher is a master of subtle manipulation.

After that revelation I started to get concerned. I was not sure if Fincher was going to be able to keep the same kind of breathtaking tension and strain the film had had till then. Fortunately he is able to maintain it. Fincher and Flynn (the screenwriter) may give way the twist early on but the fact is that the film still had a lot of aces and unexpected turns up its sleeve. That way, we were always kept unsure and there was always an unsettling sense in the audience. I could hear the heavy breathing of the people behind me, while a few moments later I could hear them laugh. It’s quite a journey to share; it’s a ride of scares and laughs, of love and violence.

Violence and tension. Fincher showcases perfectly that you can have tension without either using violence or any kind of action. This isn’t some Micheal Bay sh*t, where violence becomes almost a background to the film itself. There are so many explosions that after a while, you can’t help but to feel bored and numb and the result is that no tension at all is built. Here we only have one violent scene, and that scene is absolutely uncompromising and it doesn’t hold back a bit, that’s what makes it so disturbing and god damn effective. Intensity is created by good acting and fabulous narrative directing by Fincher who owns it behind the cameras.

The film also makes a statement on the f*cked up society we live in. This man’s wife disappears, he’s in pain, he might just have lost the love of his life and yet he’s shamefully raped by the media. The disappearance of his wife becomes news and there’s gossip not only between his neighbors and local news but soon enough a nationwide public trial commences. The main question is whether or not Nick has the face of a murderer. The whole case becomes a reality show, a circus. Nick’s faith is in his public appearance, the truth doesn’t matter anymore, only the image that America has of him matters.

Gillian Flynn also deserves a big round of applause. She adapted into a screenplay her own book. Many times when the authors of the books themselves adapt their own material, well at times it ends up being a shot in the foot. Screenwriters can get greedy and too in love with themselves and that often leads into poor adaptations. This one though, ain’t one of those. This reminded me of Cormac McCarthy on the sense that it’s very dark and quite bold too, twisty and with a fantastic sense of awareness and humor. I will talk Oscars a bit later on but I can say right now that when it comes to awards, the screenplay is one of the films strongest bets.

The acting is also phenomenal and I do mean that word. It’s rare to get this surprised by the performances. This isn’t just one actor that’s good. This is a great ensemble performance, from supporting cast to the lead roles.
In the supporting roles you will find people like Tyler Perry. F*cking Tyler Perry on a David Fincher movie…and he mother*cking owns it. Perry is often looked at as cinematic cancer (and deservedly so) but here he proves everybody wrong with a strong performance. It’s just awesome to see this guy on screen showing a face you didn’t even know he had. Neil Patrick Harris plays a kind of against type character, Scoot McNairy is also on one good scene (this guy is awesome and he’s been in so many great pictures as of late). On the female roles we have Carrie Coon who’s very good playing Nick’s sister, who might or might not be involved with him and the woman detective Kim Dickens.

The lead performances though are no doubt the main attraction, with two fabulous performances from actors that I did not know had that much talent on them.
Ben Affleck, jesus man, this guy has come a long way since Pearl Harbor. He was up there with Sandler as one of the lowest regarded actors in the business; he was a joke and look at him now. He’s an accomplished director with three very good films (including, obviously, the Best Picture Winner Argo) and he has made appearances on a Fincher and Terrence Malick film. I wonder how he is going to turn out as Batman. Well here he’s spectacular. He had shown obviously that he was a talented actor but this is his best performance. What a showcase of talent. Much of the tension of the picture itself is created by the acting. We see the pressure he’s under and we feel it too, we feel the weight and the sweats he’s having. We believe in his loving husband side and we believe that he might have a hidden violent history. Affleck will probably not even be regarded as a contender for Lead Actor category, but I got to say that the man deserves some talk.

(Spoilers in Pike’s character and performance description)
Who deserves some talk and some more roles is Rosamund Pike. It seems as though at the age of 35 she was finally able to get her breakthrough performance. She’s a recognizable face, played several supporting roles in the past in pictures like The World’s End and Sense and Sensibility but this is indeed her first showdown performance in a leading role. She’s a wrecking ball, a fantastic powerhouse performance. At first we buy her as the loving beautiful perfect wife who waxes her vag-g and gives head to her husband. Well maybe not so much. The sugar clouds were gone a long time ago and the only thing remaining was the hate and angst towards her flawed and kind of ass-holish husband. This is Blue Valentine x100 when it comes to f*cked up relationships though.

Technically the picture is also pretty outstanding, from the beautiful cinematography by Jeff Cronenweth, who takes us from the sweet tonal palates of the sugar clouds to the dark grim visions of Amy’s diary. The score by Trent Raznor is also, once again very strong. The Nine Inch Nails lead singer, knocks it out of the park once again with a haunting, subtly disturbing score. The editing by Kirk Baxter is once again very good too. The picture jumps smoothly from flash back, to visions, to Nick’s present, to Amy’s present. Everything always feels natural and fluid.

Oscar season has begun and when it comes to Oscars, I’m not sure where this will stand. I can see this being a major contender for Adapted Screenplay and Editing. Other possibilities is the Best Actress Category that for now is basically empty and it seems as though it will be a pretty weak category where Pike’s debauched performance could fit in just like Mara did with The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo. Score is also possible and so it is Best Picture though I think the film will have a hard time getting in there. Director also seems to be a long shot.

F*ck the Oscars though. Gone Girl is the best picture I have seen of 2014 and it will certainly rank amidst my favorites of the year. It was just an awesome time at the movies, plus it’s beautifully crafted. It’s clinically directed by Fincher who’s still in form, the performances are terrific and the film is always engaging and meticulously paced. A nail biter. I had a blast!

Rating:A-

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