Gone Girl

Gone Girl ★★★★★

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

This review may contain spoilers.

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
**********************************************************

Don't worry everyone, the scene were Amy kills Desi is just as awesome when you see it coming the second time through.

Rewatched it with my parents, and I'll be watching it again soon (maybe Friday) with my SO. I'll be expanding my original reading of the film as an exploration of identity, but with Hoop-Tober and everything there's just a bit too much on my plate to make any changes at the moment. Instead, here are my three favorite things about the film on this rewatch.

The editing. In particular, there are two cuts in the first act which disrupt the formation of romantic fantasy. In the flashbacks where Amy and Nick are falling in love, there's a cut from their first encounter with its corresponding sentimental music to the jarringly loud spin of the Life wheel and the atonal, generally scoreless world of Nick and his bar. Then there's a match cut from Amy sitting with Nick in the past to Nick sitting with the cops in the present, where they take a very unromantic swab for DNA from his mouth. Both of these moments reinforce the film's denial of fantasy and its exploration of the appearances we put on to hide our "true" identities.

The soundtrack. I often underestimate the importance of a good soundtrack to elevate a movie beyond its visuals, and Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor really struck musical gold with their work here. In particular I love the use of leitmotif and the separation of the warm, bubbly, sentimental melodies from the harsh, distorted, violent dissonance. This makes it so that Amy intrudes on Nick's space musically as well as visually, just as the distortion intrudes on the melodies of his fantasy.

The monologue. When we first learn that Amy is still alive, she gives the most bad-ass, empowering speech on sexual politics and feminism I've seen from mainstream Hollywood since maybe as far back as Thelma & Louise. Amy is surrounded by unsatisfactory possibilities for female identity, all of which she finds perverted by the desires of men. Through her actions she attempts to break through and create her own genuine identity by embracing the violence of her desires and understanding that the truth of identity lies in the facade, in appearances, not in the false "truth" supposedly hidden underneath.

Published review
David Fincher | Top 10 of the 2010's
Adaptations | Girl Power | Digital Cinematography
2014: Yearly Releases | New Discoveries | All Together

PS. Yes, I read the book first, and no, I don't think comparing books to films makes sense. I think this was a faithful adaptation, for whatever that's worth.

ScreeningNotes liked these reviews

All