Review: Gone Girl

GoneGirl From the very beginning David Fincher’s latest film provokes the viewer to ponder and constantly guess what comes next. Based on the novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl is a mystery thriller with all the right components to make it one of Fincher’s best to date. A dark and stylish film with plenty of twists and turns that never seem to slow down until the credits roll. Gone Girl tells the tale of a Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and Amy Elliott-Dunne (Rosamund Pike). A troubled married couple whose lives are recapped in flashbacks as a way to established how this stylish duo made it to small town America. Nick, the co-owner of a bar wakes to take in the quiet moments of the early morning before beginning his day. In one of the most telling scenes of the film, we get a nice calm before the storm. Once Nick, and the audience, take a nice deep breath they are thrown into the day that changes Nick’s life forever. While checking in on his bar with his co-owner sister, Margo (Carrie Coon), Nick receives a call from his neighbor telling him that his front door is open. He heads home to find his wife, Amy, missing. The police are called and detectives Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) and Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit) arrive on the scene. The two calmly assess the situation and notice the first bit of oddities around the Dunne household; cracks begin to form.

Inevitably, people start to turn their eye to Nick as the possible culprit to Amy's disappearance. Nick swings back and forth with outbursts and choices that both support and thwart the assumptions of skeptics. Did he do it? Is he innocent? The town, the media, even Nick's closest allies don't know. More importantly, you as the audience doesn't either. Keeping everyone in the dark is the movie's greatest asset. The back and forth is what truly makes this a memorable film.

There is a delicate dance that happens in this movie that is designed to set one’s teeth on edge. Just when you think you have the definitive answers, motivations, and next steps mapped out things shift violently. You may get frustrated with characters and their behavior, you might sigh in relief at revelations, but you will be riveted to the screen. Part of what keeps you glued is the look of the film, dream-like and constantly fluid. Director David Fincher is known for his low light shooting style and it works so well here. Giving the feeling of misunderstanding and setting the tone for a dull Midwestern town, Fincher’s camera style seems absolutely superb. While cinematography choice is a part of what makes this feel genuine in a sea of films largely CGI-ed, the acting is what brings it home. Stellar casting choices of Affleck and Pike sold me immediately. The two play the perfect balance of a couple on the edge of a phoenix-like resurrection or a complete implosion of their marriage. This tap dance on the edge just reinforces the tremendous ‘what’s going to happen’ mentality that is overwhelming in this film. Carrie Coon who plays Nick’s sister works wonderfully as a moral barometer and voice for the audience in many ways. Kim Dickens and Patrick Fugit are reminiscent of characters in Fargo; not so simple-minded simple folks. A few surprising and great performances by Neil Patrick-Harris and even Tyler Perry. I don’t want to give away anything in this film, because the best thing you can do is see it as blind as possible. A truly masterful work from David Fincher and everyone involved. An absolute must see!

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