Skip the Bullshit:
A five-year affair gone maniacally haywire: Gone Girl sets the stage for another Fincher landmark, mixed with clever storytelling, striking characters, and a perpetuating ominous glow that’ll leave a hopelessly acidic aftertaste.
David Fincher’s got a knack for all things grueling and conniving: unsettling motives, egregious characters; ensuring to absolutely batter the idea that most people are just pulling affable façades to exploit others’ drawbacks (or financial—sexual fortune). Oh, yes. Fincher’s got a knack for the destruction of misleading rapport. So, honestly, who better to adapt Gillian Flynn’s best selling novel Gone Girl; Perhaps a microcosm for all marriages (take it with a grain of salt, if you will)? Perhaps a sleazy narrative for the marriages that don’t make it to the national headlines? Fincher’s adaptation of Gone Girl is actually anything but passé: It’s an intriguing, hypnotizing look into pseudo-romantic elements that carry intrigue and, ultimately, establish the most satisfying thriller in recent memory. Although, let’s be clear here: I’ve just declared 2014 as The Desolation of $11.50-worthiness.
Circulating around the sudden, mysterious disappearance of Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) on a fifth-year anniversary with Nick Dunne (appropriately, Ben Affleck), the film is led by a complex, misleading narrative between the two: one side starting off rather innocuous and viscously romantic, Nick and Amy meet and instantly fall in love; projected through the voiceover of Amy’s adorable, yet unsettlingly concise diaries. Nick’s side lives through the present following Amy’s disappearance, enduring perpetually degrading publicity that leads to the ultimate question: Did Nick murder his wife? It doesn’t help one bit that Nick largely remains aloof throughout the investigation. Accompanying a fantastic duo, Carrie Coon plays Nick’s loyal twin sister, Margo, Neil Patrick Harris almost abusing the creepiness of the role of Amy’s ex-boyfriend Desi Collings, Kim Dickens as a dubious Detective Rhonda Boney—hell, they even managed to pull off a hilarious, egomaniacal performance from Tyler Perry as an attorney named Tanner Bolt.
What’s truly startling about Fincher’s satirical adaptation is not Ross and Reznor’s progressively haunting soundtrack; not the vicious, cunning attacks against unbeknownst characters; not the perpetual “motel-murder”, sterile, yet hypnotic camera lens utilized to strike an unnerving sense of dread; it’s the inevitable acceptance that people may take on quintessential roles in order to satiate or manipulate one another. By the film’s end, the pieces come together, but it’s quite difficult to pinpoint what exactly runs through the Dunnes’ heads. Sure, the viewer recognizes a marriage that crumbles beneath the eerie shakes and distortions of the score, but in actuality: what can we make of our characters’ psyches? In the meantime, we can merely sit and judge a convoluted, romantic thriller but Flynn and company beg for a different form of entertainment: one that should uncomfortably sit with contemplative viewers for a period of time. Compared to its source material and despite its epic running time, the film moves at a breakneck, constricting pace, ensuring that audiences may in fact miss a beat; why yes, I could use a second viewing. Add in the diabolical formula of a well-casted crew and meticulous, implicitly distrusting structure: voila. Just when you thought Fincher couldn’t further vilify another lesson of humanity, you got Gone Girl. And you don’t know what you got till it’s finally lifted from Flynn’s adapted screenplay of her own work: so meta, right Mr. Dunne?