Fincher finally takes on Gillian Flynn’s 2012 bestselling novel, Gone Girl, giving us a date movie to die for … literally. The script also written by Flynn who shows us an almost depleted marriage of a husband and wife (Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike) who want to not only destroy the heart of their marriage but each other. From the start, Fincher never leaves any breathing room and goes right for the throat. His craftsmanship has significantly improved over the years and he proves his point here even more. On top of the eerie writing and vivid direction is the film’s lead actors (Affleck and Pike), who are the root of this film success.
Affleck has never been better and Pike is finally at the top of her game. Nick Dunne (Affleck) is a New York Journalist who is out of work and out of luck. That is, until he crawls back to his hometown in Missouri where he opens up a local bar with his twin sister, Margo (Carrie Coon, outstanding). His wife Amy (Pike) is a trust-fund baby, Amazing Amy, also out of a recent writing career and wants nothing to do with 'Nick’s Missouri.' Flynn, also a writer who was laid off from her job by Entertainment Weekly, knows a thing or too about out-of-work writers. This hardship and experience is what inspired her to explore the psychology and dynamics of long term-relationships for her book. After that, the couple’s marriage starts to show signs of trouble and continues to rot, that is, until all hell breaks loose on the Dunne’s fifth anniversary. Nick comes home from work to find a break in and a bloody struggle throughout the house, but Amy is nowhere to be found. Nick ends up becoming a person of interest in the suspected murder of his missing, pregnant wife.
Spoilers are a bitch and would kill the suspense and mystery of this film. So you’ll have to see it for yourself and let the mysteries pour out in front of you. Unless, you’re one of the six million who’ve read the book. What I will tell is that Gone Girl does live up to the hype and then some. Fincher hits all the right notes with every scary, suspenseful and seductive scene. It’s twistedly dark and will send couple’s running for the hills if they think marriage is all butterflies and lollipops. Affleck gives us one of his most intriguing performances of his career. He’s come a long way from the god-awful performance of Captain Rafe McCawley, Pearl Harbor, to the captivating performance of Tony Mendez, Argo. Now, he gives us a soulless and shallow low-life known as Nick Dunne. Is he a sociopath? Or is he innocent?
Pike's performance on the other hand is a career breakthrough for her. Having been in smaller roles (Pride & Prejudice and An Education) in the past, Pike finally gets her moment to wickedly shine as the morally corrupt wife. In addition, other actors (Tyler Perry, Kim Dickens and Neil Patrick Harris) are a knockout throughout the film. Perry is smart and riveting as Nick’s know-it-all lawyer. Dickens is astonishing as the obsessed cop who wants to find out all the answers and will not stop until she does. Finally, there’s Harris who breaks away from his usual comedic role to a much more darker role … he’s a stalker from Amy’s past. Harris is cunning with every move he makes or line he says. He’ll send shivers tingling down your spine.
On top of that, Fincher brings in his veteran’s cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, editor Kirk Baxter and composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to help artfully craft the film, while also adding in more tension to the viewers experience. Gone Girl is stylish to a fault, but damn Fincher knows how to vividly bring a novel to life right before our very eyes. He’s always ahead of the game continually throwing punches at you until you’re morally and physically exhausted. Gone Girl is not a light film as you can tell, but its one to obsess over for a while. Its going to get a lot of Oscar buzz this holiday season will continue to be talked about years down the road. It rightfully has a spot at one of the best films of the year. It receives the highest of highs … five out of five stars.
“When I think of my wife, I always think of the back of her head. I picture cracking her lovely skull, unspooling her brain, trying to get answers. The primal questions of a marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? What have we done to each other? What will we do?” … that’s marriage for ya folks.