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Wednesday, October 4, 2023
October 4 , 2023

‘Gone Girl’ lives up to high expectations


Photo Courtesy screenrelish.com.
Photo Courtesy screenrelish.com.

Gone Girl: see it before it’s gone

If there’s one movie you should see this fall, it should be “Gone Girl.”

“Gone Girl” was always guaranteed to thrill its audience, with the book spending more than 71 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller’s List. Also boosting anticipation for the film was the big-name stars involved with the picture (such as Ben Affleck and Tyler Perry) and the acclaimed director David Fincher (“Fight Club” and “The Social Network”) adding his cryptic touch to the already twisted tale.

But the incredibly satisfying novel has truly come alive in this movie adaptation, adding color to the nuanced characters, with Fincher bringing author Gillian Flynn’s storytelling to the next level. Lovers of the book will be thrilled that Flynn also wrote the screenplay for this chilling, psychological thriller.

It’s hard to discuss “Gone Girl” without divulging any of the juicy twists and turns. Essentially, tired Nick Dunn arrives home one morning to find his home trashed and his wife missing. As the police investigate, all evidence seems to point toward unsuspecting Nick. He becomes desperate to uncover the truth, as the secrets in their relationship are divulged. The web of lies leads Nick into a maze of confusion while he discovers exactly who his wife is.

Every role was perfectly cast: Affleck is masterful as the oblivious Nick Dunn who becomes more warped as the plot thickens. There is one scene in which an impassive Nick watches his own emotional speech on the television—it’s amazing that Affleck can play both sides with incredible composure. Carrie Coon plays Nick’s sister Margo and wonderfully captures her despair as Nick’s woes grow. Even Perry thrills as sleazy attorney Tanner Bolt, hired to clear Nick’s name as his case grows darker.

But Rosamund Pike steals the show as the cunning Amy Elliott-Dunne. She is absolutely brilliant and dynamic. A true chameleon, Pike can change personas within seconds and leave the audience one step behind every time. Though she’s been in praised films like “An Education” and “Pride and Prejudice,” this is her breakout role and will cement her as the next “it-girl.”

What was most surprising about “Gone Girl” was the number of comedic moments. The movie is incredibly dark, but Flynn and Fincher manage to incorporate dry, black humor that seems wildly inappropriate to giggle at, but works with the storyline impeccably.

The film is shot in a bland, earthy tone, which wonderfully juxtaposes with the horrifically dark material. The flow of scenes is well done: a close-up of Nick and Amy leaning in for a lingering kiss is quickly disrupted by a policeman swabbing Nick’s throat for DNA.

The lurching, haunting music is always in the background, mirroring the visibly rising tension between the characters. Though the movie starts slowly, it quickly speeds up and keeps audiences’ hearts racing in anticipation of the next scene.

More than just a riveting movie, “Gone Girl” highlights problems with modern marriage, gender stereotyping and the impossible standards placed on both men and women. The explosively quotable “Cool Girl” passage from the novel is pared down in the film, but still rings powerfully true in the movie.

Flynn’s book was stellar enough: each page painted a new picture of the twisted characters and carefully sketched the elaborate plot. Switching between Nick’s narrative and Amy’s flashbacks, it was incredibly riveting. Fincher and Flynn did their best to bring that dynamic to the movie, but perhaps it only made sense to those who had read the book.

There are few occasions when a movie lives up to the shadow its book has cast, but “Gone Girl” has made it. From the opening scene to the last, chilling look on Pike’s face, this movie was faithful to its predecessor and an absolute delight to watch. Even if you read the book, Fincher’s adaptation will leave you shocked and chillingly satisfied.

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