Plot: When Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) has discovered his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) has gone missing, he becomes a likely suspect in her murder. As clues begin to show themselves, Nick learns way more about his wife then he ever wanted to.
Gone Girl is an interesting creature. Based on the best-selling novel by author Gillian Flynn (who also penned the screenplay), the story psychologically deconstructs a marriage and paints it in a negative light. While some might not see the appeal of such a tale, the real takeaway is the ride getting there. It really paints a picture of “Do you really know anyone?” The movie will get inside your head and not let go. Chalk that up to a great cast and director David Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network). As a person who read the book recently, I couldn’t ask for a better set of actors to portray those we meet onscreen. Affleck is perfect as Nick, who comes off creepy and sympathetic, both at the same time. The actor has come a long way since his Gigli days. His counterpart in the mysterious Amy, played by Pike, comes off lifeless, but I feel that was intentional. As you spend more time with that character, you realize how much Pike had to take on. It’s a role that asks a lot of her, especially towards the near end of the film. Some are saying she deserves an Oscar for this, I don’t know if I would go that far. But that isn’t meant to discredit her whatsoever.
Neil Patrick Harris shows up as an ex of sorts of Amy and he does a good job of leaving the comedy at the door. He plays kind of a disturbing Barney (his character from How I Met your Mother), which I totally pictured while reading the novel.
In addition, Tyler Perry plays against type as a straight shooting lawyer who comes to Nick’s aid. Probably the most out there casting found here, but Fincher doesn’t mess around with this type of stuff, and trust me when I say Perry does a really good job. Definitely the best performance (which will probably fly under the radar) is that of Carrie Coon, who plays Nick’s twin sister Margo. She is heavily involved in Nick’s life, with a news reporter cracking a “twincest” joke. Coon shows a great range in the film, going from being very dry to Nick’s conscience to just being overwhelmed by the media circus and her participation in it all. I really felt like she gave it her all in this part.
The pacing of the film is great, actually highlighting features of the book with dates and how many days Amy was missing or her journal entries leading up to her disappearance. Flash blacks are handled with a nice “fade to black” transition, so the shift isn’t so jarring. And the movie ties it all together musically with a score by Trent Reznor who also worked on The Social Network. Reznor’s score is mainly highlighted in Nick/Amy moments, or showcased heavily in moments of tension. Except for the Nick/Amy music, it was kind of forgettable. The only real other major flaw found here is the ending. The movie is a rollercoaster ride and once the cars dock into the station you can’t help but feel something is missing. Still, even though the wrap up may not be everything, Flynn still has to be given credit for not giving the members of the audience what they may want. In that regard, some people may love the ending, some may hate it. I guess at this point I’m kind of in the middle.
Despite that, Gone Girl is a film that is definitely recommended. It’s a great character study as it goes to show that you really don’t know what another person is thinking or is capable of. It’s a film you can discuss and will really make you question why decisions were made the way they were. Flynn’s novel successfully translates onto screen, with the edges trimmed where they need to be. As a major fan of the book, I am also a major fan of the movie. It’s a water cooler flick, and one that will stay with you for a while. Go see it.
Logan J. Fowler is a senior writer and video game editor on Po-Break.com. He contributes his thoughts every week for Trailer Tuesday and has his own column called “A Link to the Past.” Logan’s “kid at heart” nature has led to his discussion about pop culture that many geeks love to talk about, including superheroes, Super Mario Bros., Pixar, and Muppets, amongst other things. In addition, one of his first pieces for the site, “Top Ten Comic Book Movies,” was picked as a “Freshly Pressed” piece by WordPress and remains one of the site’s most well-read articles. Currently, Logan works as a Special Education Instructional Assistant at Roosevelt School in Manville NJ. At the present moment, he is enrolled in Rutgers Online courses, pursuing a Teacher of Student with Disabilities certification. He graduated from Wagner College in 2005 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and in 2007 with a Master of Science in Education Degree in Birth-6th Grade Literacy. Also many of Logan’s friends have said that he moonlights as Spider-Man but this is so not true. Wait, are those police sirens I’m hearing?! Gotta go! -thwipp-