Gone Girl

gone-girl-poster

Release: Friday, October 3, 2014

[Theater]

Written by: Gillian Flynn

Directed by: David Fincher

Not to be confused with the Ben Affleck-directed Gone Baby Gone from 2007, Gone Girl is yet another exceptionally entertaining thriller from David Fincher, a director guilty of association . . . with rock-solid filmmaking, that is.

I don’t know why that would be confusing, but for some reason lately I have been having trouble untangling the two names. Since seeing the recent adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel I have also come into the understanding that the film experience is merely half the picture; that reading what Flynn is able to elucidate in greater detail in print is somehow more compelling than the visual spectacle of Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike operating at extremely high levels.

Right now it feels as though I’m trying to compare a giant to a goliath. Whatever it is about the novel that makes it so great I can’t exactly attest to but I know what I saw in this film and I understand the anticipation for Gone Girl has been unlike many other films this year, save for the latest Hunger Games installment and the upcoming Chris Nolan spectacular. What I also know is that Big Bat Ben has been able to explain his dry, bland style of acting a little better to me in recent years, perhaps speaking up a bit louder with this role. Stepping in front of the cameras rather than remaining behind them in the midst of a hot streak as director, Affleck plays Nick Dunne, husband to Amy (Pike) and soon-to-be pariah of the national media in the wake of his wife’s strange disappearance.

On the day of the Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary, Nick comes home to find an open front door, some smashed glass on the floor and a house devoid of that breeze of blonde hair. As far as appearances are concerned, she’s gone. A husband in immediate panic begins the search for his dearly beloved on solid ground, recruiting locals to help in a missing persons rescue effort. Sure footing and stable ground are soon lost, though, as his cooperation with Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) and her partner (Patrick Fugit) is overcome with an awkwardness that’s difficult to put a finger on.

The first of many pressing questions that naturally arises is one of a judgment upon his character. Is he having this much difficulty processing his current reality, or is there something more to him that we ought to be afraid of? As the story unfolds, we are forced into questioning far more than his character.

David Fincher — excuse me, Gillian Flynn — is fascinated with subtlety. Flynn knows that in this world, under these circumstances, it’s not necessarily what you say that gets you into trouble, it can also be what you don’t say. Physical gestures speak volumes. A side long glance can mean one thing, a weird stutter something else. There should be a code word for how ingenious Flynn’s screenplay really is.

As the circumstances and evidence begin to pile up against Mr. Dunne, Nick’s behavior only increases in bizarreness. From our point of view, a more forgiving one than that of media pundit Ellen Abbott (Missi Pyle) — a woman who makes Nancy Grace seem pleasant by comparison — the severity of the situation is running him ragged. How one is supposed to handle themselves in the public eye in these situations, I don’t know. This is merely one question Fincher and Flynn in tandem aim at getting to the bottom of.

In the hands of others, Gone Girl does have the potential to become an unwieldy, even pretentious machine. It isn’t enough to simply peg contemporary (televised) media as something of a gladiatorial arena in which the individuals being examined are paraded out in front of the masses only to be slaughtered on live television in the form of brutal interviews. No, it’s the institution of marriage and how we act as a society — at least, as society pertains to American culture — that also comes under fire. Under Fincher’s direction and in Flynn’s mind, the two go hand-in-hand. What better way to link the frenzied collective’s desire to revert back to Salem Witch trial tendencies in the face of such confronting aberration. A husband who has not only seemed to have made his wife vanish into thin air also admits to have cheated on her beforehand? That’s not good. That’s actually really not good.

Gone Girl is extremely ambitious, but never does it overreach. It’s as entertaining as it is perplexing and disturbing. It’s also surprisingly witty. Affleck’s reactions to certain situations, while may not be appropriate, often conjure up some laughs that feel earned rather than forced upon the scene. There’s nothing humorous about a loved one going missing. But of a film that manages to reflect the fine details of how we as people are able to judge so quickly without knowing the full story, the entertainment value skyrockets. It’s a police procedural, murder mystery and a dark comedy all rolled into one. What a beautiful matrimony.

gone-girl-1

4-5Recommendation: Gone Girl appears to be one of the first truly great films of the fall season. Readers of the book have been singing the film’s praises already for its authentication. Not a surprise when the novelist also penned the script but there are often times when that transition is not so naturally made. Here it’s clear there is natural harmony. I at times get ancy with films running over two hours (his 2007 crime drama Zodiac is a good example, despite its strong narrative) but here I hated the fact I was watching the end credits already. I wanted more. I think Mr. Fincher has a tendency to do that.

Rated: R

Running Time: 145 mins.

Quoted: “I’m so much happier now that I’m dead.”

All content originally published and the reproduction elsewhere without the expressed written consent of the blog owner is prohibited.

Photo credits: http://www.impawards.com; http://www.imdb.com 

Advertisements

35 thoughts on “Gone Girl

  1. Pingback: The 2014 DigiBread Awards | digitalshortbread

  2. GREAT job here, Tom. Agreed on all counts. Fantastic film. If Rosamund Pike doesn’t get at least an Oscar nomination for this, I think it’s a sign of the apocalypse. Lol.

  3. Pingback: Top That: Ten Actors I Actively Avoid in Anything. . .pretty much | digitalshortbread

  4. I enjoyed this more than I thought but it’s not flawless. Still the performances are great, hope miss Pike get some noms come award season.

    • Indeed Ruth, thanks for coming on by! 🙂

      By the way, would you mind checking your Spam box for any comments I may have left? I left you another one the other day and it didn’t pop up. Not sure if that’s what’s happening or what. . . 🙂

      • Sure thing Tom! I LOVE your rating style, very creative 😀

        I just searched my Spam folder using your email and indeed they were there!! That’s so weird, sorry I don’t know what happened! You must think I’m such a snob for not responding back, ahah. Well hopefully now it won’t go to the Spam folder again.

        • No, no not at all Ruth! Haha. In fact the opposite case is why I thought something was funky. You are usually very quick in replying to comments, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask if there was something out of the ordinary. 🙂 I’m glad that’s the deal, and not a WP glitch or something. haha.

          Thanks for the compliment! Been considering introducing a half-slice rating for the pie, since I would generally agree that despite how utterly entertaining ‘Gone Girl’ is, it isn’t entirely perfect. A 7.5 slice-rating might suit it better. 😀

          • Seems that the comment thing is sorted out now as I’ve been getting new comments from you, hurray!!

            I was wondering how you’d do the half slice thing… maybe have it separated a bit from the main pie? 😀

          • Yeah to be totally honest that is why i haven’t gotten on to it yet. It might be hard to make that look good lol. Maybe just use a whole bunch of crumbs to represent a piece missing? 😀

  5. Pingback: Reading List 10.10.2014 – Hyperfilm

  6. You got a point buddy. This is one of the rare…rare…rare…rare…rarer than rare…rarer than rarely rare…RARE…RARE x234332 + RAREX4939840390230302332…type films that I did not mind going on for over two in a half hours. I could have done three or more…

    I honestly don’t see how it isn’t in the 90’s on RT…or understand why some people are complaining about it. I keep seeing articles on it being misogynistic or on it supporting rape culture…AND I LOSE MY SHIT EACH TIME. Some people are idiots Tom…why?

    • So are you saying this is a common thing for you to like films going over 2 hours? 😉

      I’m the same way. Zodiac only lost points with me because it was soooo goddamn long. I really loved the story and the characters were fascinating, strong, complex. The killer was brutal and fiercely intelligent. I just grew weary of the multiple jumps in time — like seeing another five years had passed between scenes sort of got old lol

      But here, yeah, the time pretty much flew by. Given that I am not insanely versed in Fincher’s work, I have to say this is one of the best ones I’ve seen him do for sure.

      And I wish I had an answer for that question dude. Really do. Hahah. The irony of people jumping to conclusions about this film is caught in the film. Even David Fincher’s bound to have trolls. 🙂

  7. Eight big fat steaming slices no less! As I mentioned in my review I felt this was B grade Fincher; it didn’t quite hit the marks of Fight Club or Seven. That being said it was a blast and Pike was sensational. I salute your review sir!

    • I was wondering what you were referring to until I saw the word ‘slices’ hahah! Totally saw that comment going in another direction. . .

      If this is B-grade Fincher, then my god! I do see it as one of the best things he’s done but that’s based on my surveillance of a limited number of his shit. Fight Club I actually don’t like, at all. Seven is pretty damn awesome. And you know my thoughts on Zodiac; great story just suffers a bit from bloating. Um. . .and oh yeah, Benjamin Button is extraordinary, but also a tad too long as well.

      All the same thanks kindly Mr. Fletcher.

  8. Perfect score? Yes, indeed. I love how you talk about how well Fincher and Flynn handle the story, as it really could have been a terrible kind of thriller in any one else’s hands. And dammit, even after watching the film, Pike is still sexy as hell….

    • Dude she really was. I think I have to agree with Mark down below that she has a deserved statue coming her way next year. She was so incredible on so many different levels here. And Ben Affleck also stunned me. Never been a huge fan of him, though I’ve never plain disliked him. Just been neutral on the guy

  9. Great review, Tom! Totally enjoyed reading it. I would agree that it’s definitely one of the best films of the fall so far (and one of the better ones of the year too, I’d like to think!). There were a few lines that really had me laughing, but when Margo says something around the lines of “whoever took her will probably just bring her back” had me going! Great, subtle humor embedded in the film.

    • Thanks muchly! I would agree, the humor works in so many ways here. Sometimes it’s really dark comedy, other times the jokes are sprinkled in to lighten things up. Cuz it gets pretty heavy in this film from time to time, no? haha

      I thought ‘Gone Girl’ is incredible. Definitely one of the best pictures of the year. I can’t wait to see how it does in Oscar’s eyes. We all know it probably won’t win, because it’s not race-related or about war. Lol. Although, there is an interesting commentary on gender and the institution of marriage as a whole. Could be worth something to those picky folks counting ballots.

      • The film definitely gets heavy! I was thankful for the occasional funny line that provided some comic relief from the heavy tone of the film.

        Hmm . . . IDK! I mean, Oscar loves David Fincher, and Gone Girl had a lot of big elements that would attract some shiny statues, haha, like a murder mystery, a psychotic character, dark humor, and a Reznor and Atticus score! So who knows. 🙂

  10. Great work Tom. Saw this today and loved it. I’ve never been a massive fan of Fincher – he’s always solid and has done some great movies, such as Zodiac – but this one completely won me over. I’m sending an Oscar Rosamund Pike’s way as we speak!

    Adam.

    • Adam that’s a good idea, and I’m sure Ms. Pike will appreciate it. This was a truly stellar film, did have a few minor things in it that were slightly less than perfect but my god. Here comes the Oscar season! I might really have to go back to Zodiac and give it another try. I remember liking it just not loving it. . .

  11. At heart Gone Girl is a marriage fable. But this isn’t the fantasy of an idealized romance. It’s the tale of the institution as a prison. A jail that locks two people in a dungeon of souls desiring to break free. Such a great film. Best Picture nominee for sure.

    • Very well-put, and without me having read the book my impression is that the institution of marriage took precedent over everything else. There was a heavy commentary on the responsibility of media and how the public and the media alarmingly fuel off one another’s fears and concerns, but no doubt the motives behind these two people — what they would do to get one another back and the things they would do to push each other apart — were the real focus.

      Definitely agree, such a complex film. And we’ll have to see next February! It just has to be in the running, I would say

    • I found the quality of this film much higher than the average films I’ve been seeing so I’d rate this highly of Fincher, but I may change my mind when I get to seeing more of this guy’s work. I would rate it slightly above Benjamin Button and Fight Club. I am not much of a Fight Club fan, for some reason. Find it highly overrated.

    • Appreciate that man, can’t for you to experience it as well. (If you haven’t already, this comment is like 4 days belated haha). If you havent, get ready for a true mind-bender. 😉

Comments are closed.