Gone Girl

Gone Girl ★★★★½

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

This review may contain spoilers.

On the day of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne returns home to find a smashed coffee table. His wife Amy is missing. Her disappearance creates a media frenzy, and his awkward behavior on camera is interpreted as evidence of psychopathy and guilt. As circumstantial evidence mounts against him, Nick becomes the prime suspect.

This movie is about murder, although maybe not the kind you are thinking of. From the get go we follow what is happening from 2 points of view, Nick’s and Amy’s, his being since the day of her disappearance and hers through a diary detailing how they meet and how their relationship slowly deteriorated. We see Nick’s reaction to entering the house and seeing the signs of struggle and not finding Amy, so it’s pretty clear he didn’t killed her, but as we see his interactions with the police and media is quite obvious he is acting out of obligation and not love, most of the scenes he has at the beginning and just after Amy goes missing with his sister clarify that his marriage was not a happy one and that he not only dislike his wife but maybe even hates her, so when he talks to the detective in charge, or to people, he reacts in a way that is not appropriate to the situation, mostly because he doesn’t care, he can’t react as he should because he doesn’t have the sadness or fear necessary to create that reaction naturally, especially because we then found out that he has a girlfriend and was planning to get a divorce, pretty soon we see that everything he has is in her name (including his business) and as Amy’s diaries get closer to the present we not only see how their relationship went bad but how after they had to move to Nick’s hometown to take care of his sick mother their marriage became a hell, she tried to make him happy and to be close to him but he didn’t want her there, he saw her as a thing, a thing that he depended on and hated, this going to the point where he assaulted here, she was afraid of him and was convinced that he may ended up killing her, there is where the diary truly ends. And at the same time we found out in the present by a supposed friend of Amy that she was pregnant, by this point all the clues are pointing at Nick and if it wasn’t because we know he didn’t do it we would probably also think he did it to.

Then something amazing happens, we found out that Amy is alive, she arranged the whole thing to make it look like Nick killed her and she may even end up committing suicide to make sure that he get convicted and receive the death penalty. The movie could of very well had ended here, it would been a problematic ending because Amy admits that her diaries are lies, not the ones about the happy times in their relationship, those were real, but the ones that told us, and the police because she left the whole thing for the cops to find, that she was afraid of her husband and that he was abusive. It would have been a problematic ending because it would meant that we really didn’t knew much about their marriage apart from than it was an unhappy one, something that a lot people would of disliked and I can understand why, but no the movie doesn’t end there, to tell the truth we have a long way to go.

And is odd because if the movie would end there we would see Amy as a woman driven to madness by her husband infidelity, yes of course she knew about it, and by an abusive relationship, at that point we are not sure that he didn’t hit her, he didn’t, but neglect can be seen as emotional abuse. But then we get to spend time with Amy to see her in the run, react to the media circus that her disappearance has created and interact to other people. This makes us realize something soon, Amy is a fucking psycho, the kind that would make almost every femme fatale in the history of film and literature look like saint. A full blown psychopath very happy with how things are going and that not only decided to watch her husband go to jail and maybe even die but also enjoying every twisted moment of it. By then the movie has successfully make our sympathies go to both Nick and Amy, to Amy to back to Nick, sure the guy is a raging asshole but, again, his wife could give Hannibal Lecter a run for his money, he would eat her but the psychological fight before it would be epic.

Nick by then knows what is happening, as Amy left him clues of it inside their anniversary’s scavenger hunt, and together with his sister and lawyer his trying to find a way out of it, he talks to two of Amy’s ex-boyfriends, one tells him she frame him for rape. While that’s going out Amy is hidden in a motel and has “befriended” one of his neighbors, but the girl and a guy she is seen realize that Amy has money and robe her. She then calls for help one of her ex-boyfriends, a man that has mental problems and is clearly obsessed with her. Nick’s lover goes public with the affair and Nick gives an interview were he says how much he loves and wants Amy back, she sees this, soon after she seduces and kills Deci (the ex-boyfriend) ends up coming back to Nick and claiming that Deci kidnaped and raped her. Nick wants to leave her but she says she will make everyone hate him, saying that she realized that they are meant to be with each other, he plays along for a while but after a couple of weeks decides to come clean but then Amy reveals that she is pregnant, claiming to had used a semen sample of Nick and convincing him to stay for the sake of the baby.

I really want to read the novel this is based on. The movie has to be given a credit for managing the story alone, is a very complex and long one, with a lot of different themes and messages and yes the writer of the book wrote the screenplay but that not always equals success.

At the start of this review I said this film was about murder. Amy’s character has identity problems, her parents wrote and became famous and rich with a series of books about a fictitious and apparently “better” version of her, in her rant about her motives about why she is framing Nick she talks about having changed for him, having become his ideal women while also trying to make him her ideal man. She has an idea of what a marriage should be, as well as Nick and well almost everyone in the world, but this idea involves the word perfect on it, as well as in Nick’s. When we see how they meet, is not in a very realistic or natural way, is not how most people connect but more like how romantic fiction would have us believe that connections are made. The first time they kiss nick does a little gesture with his fingers, when Amy sees him kissing his girlfriend he does the same to her and that’s what makes her do all she does, want to kill him and even be willing to killer herself, realizing that even though she became Nick’s ideal woman he had not only grown tired of her but saw her as something replaceable and had already find a new and younger ideal woman. You can compare this movie with Linklater’s Before trilogy, mostly Before Midnight, in that both of them are about couples that had unrealistic and romanticized expectatives on love and the realization that their relationship don’t fit that anymore. In Before Midnight (spoiler) by the end the both decide to come to terms with it, they love each other but there is also a very real resentment there, the way they decide to come to terms with the reality that that perfect love is not real is by conforming with one another, playing games and pretending to be what the other wants them to be but deep down knowing and accepting the reality of their relationship. The couple of Gone Girl is different, they are not interested on something real or even to be with a person, they want to love and idea, be with projections of their desires rather than being with a person. Amy realization comes when she sees Nick’s interview and, even though she knows that everything he is saying is a lie, realizes that she has finally force him to be her ideal man, knowing that he can really abandon his own identity for the right reason, in that case his survival. There is a moment in Manhunter in which doctor Lecktor says to the main guy that if one does as God does enough times he would become as God, this is meant to imply that the repetition of an action can fool a mind, or at least a sick one, to believe that whatever delusion or fantasy your are trying to live is real. Is the same here, by the end Amy’s plan is to force Nick and herself to pretend to be other person, the real appeal being what the other one’s projection seems to say or validate about each of them as a person, until their fake happiness and projections become real. So what they wanted is actually to kill each other, no literally, but by forcing the other to change and project another vision of themselves they are in a way killing each other.

The direction is great, tense at every turn, the cinematography gorgeous, the acting incredible, everyone knocks it out of the park, yes even Tyler Perry both his character and Nick’s sister bring some well needed if not dark laughs and say the things that the public is thinking. Both Affleck(whom I believe excels at playing assholes and douchebags) and Pike deliver one of their best performances to date, Pike being the stand out, managing to play every version of Amy, the intellectual, the battered wife, the femme fatale and the loving wife, perfectly.

This movie has a really complex story and characters and in the wrong hands could have easily fallen apart, but Finsher delivers a tense and creepy drama thriller that will make you shit yourself at the idea of marriage.

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