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Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Carrie Coon, Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry is most definitely a multi faceted crime tale of the finest order, or a modern love story, depending on how one looks at it. If anyone looks very closely at the events in the film, it really could be the latter rather than the former or a brilliant combination of the two. Based upon the 2012 book of the same name by Gillian Flynn the film starts on the five year anniversary of the two main protagonists, Nick and Amy Dunne.
Before going into a scant plot description, because doing more than that could spoil it for anyone who has not read the book, it should be pointed out that in terms of clever twists, turns and devious dealings, this film is number one. Speaking of which Flynn’s book stayed on the number one slot for eight weeks on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction Bestseller list. Apparently at the end of the book’s first year of publication, Gone Girl sold over 2 million copies in both digital and printed mediums. It is not necessary, however, to read the novel before watching the film. Flynn, who did the screenplay, proved to be just as masterful at keeping a film audience mesmerized at the proceedings on-screen as she was with the written version.
Directed by David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, The Social Network) he proved to be just as masterful when showcasing the main actor’s talents and ability to confound and confuse the audience. The film is long, two hours and 25 minutes, but it does not feel like it is overly time consuming. Things are kept moving at a good pace and at least twice there are times when it feels that the movie is going to end, but like a Ronco television advertisement the audience is given a “wait there’s more,” addition to the action. Each time another twist is added, the interest is piqued further and at no time does the attention wander.
Gone Girl is a film that features main themes dealing with a multi faceted crime tale which has more twists and turns than most and could be a great take on the story of modern love. It could even be a combination of the two with a barbed commentary on the media and how Mr. and Mrs. Average rely on the news and television to help them digest the “truth.” One of the film’s more ironic moments deal with the manipulation of the media coverage of the case and how the public perceive Nick Dunne after his wife has “gone.”
The plot deals with the marriage of Nick Dunne (Affleck) to Amy Dunne (Pike), Nee Elliot, aka Amazing Amy. On the couple’s fifth anniversary Nick goes to The Bar, a drinking establishment bought by his wife for him and his twin sister Marge (Carrie Coon) to complain about his wife. Getting a call from a neighbor about his cat, Nick goes home to find Amy gone and what looks like evidence of a struggle.
Local detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) investigates and as evidence begins to mount up, starts to suspect that Nick killed his wife. Once he is formally charged, Dunne hires the flashy defence attorney Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry) with his sister’s money to defend him. While everyone rallies around to find Amy, an old lover from her past shows up, millionaire stalker Desi Collings (Neil Patrick Harris) but he disappears when Nick goes to find him.
As more clues seem to point to Dunne’s guilt, the media castigate the man which immediately results in his neighbors, in-laws and the police assuming he murdered his wife. The film is a great twisted trail of false leads, conflicting stories, and abnormal responses to normal events. The movie’s premise seems to be that most everyone, in the film, have mental issues. Either mimicking the traits of psychosis or other psychotic behaviors or suffering from both, even down to Nick’s inability to react appropriately to things like his wife’s death.
Both Amy and Nick have inappropriate reactions to things in the film and with one of them this leads to extreme solutions to problems. What is interesting in Gone Girl, apart from being a crime story with such a multi faceted take on modern relationships as well as being a tale of modern love, is that Nick seems to be punished regardless of the outcome. By the time the film ends, he literally seems to be paying for his shortcomings as a person by being in a living hell. Gone Girl opens October 3, 2014 in cinemas across the country, prepare to be consumed by this psychological crime thriller/mystery and see Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in a murderous take on Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.
By Michael Smith
Regal Red Rock Stadium 16