Gone Girl

Gone Girl ★★★★★

Rosamund Pike had been such a mysterious and cold beauty in movies for years, with that Catherine Deneuve enigma quality, that when she was cast as Amy Dunne she lavished a perfectly entrancing yet duplicitous quality for Gone Girl; it was a plot that was not probable but Pike is so great she convinces the diabolically insanity of her character was not necessarily impossible.

We have diminished expectations with the central performances by Ben Affleck and Pike only at the beginning (they are unassumingly good, it turns out). They both come on kind of lukewarm, and their meet-cute flashback seems synthetic – all for good reason since they don’t really make a good couple, not after the hot sex cools off.

When she goes missing, and Nick Dunne's affectless demeanor and absent-minded gaiety is caught on camera, it makes for terrible public perception. He becomes the most hated man in America.

I love the psychological puzzle pieces that are at play. There is a flashback when the husband is cursing the idea of having a child to mend their marriage, and he throws his wife into the banister. “What frightened me was that I could see in him that he wanted to hurt me more,” Amy says in voice-over. Later on, that entire scene shifts in perception because we learn it wasn’t fact, but recounted in a way that renders it unreliable.

Most of us continue in repeat viewings to be hooked by the number of doozy twists that come only with the best home run blockbusters, but director David Fincher’s canny little nuances elevate it to high art. To this day, I really do think Fincher's thriller is the Hitchcockian "Psycho" of our day.

The final image, for instance, isn’t very conventionally “real” with Amy as a momentarily subdued animal with darting eyes like a feral but carnal animal, but it’s the kind of quick-flash moment that makes it into your nightmares.

“What are you thinking? How are you feeling? What have we done to each other? What will we do?” Nick ponders.

One truth is that there has never been a villainess as beautiful, blackmailing and treacherous as Pike's Amy Dunne.

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