Review: Gone Girl

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Now you see her, now you…

Gone Girl is a breathless and engaging thriller about Nick Dunne’s (played by Ben Affleck) life the following two weeks after his wife Amy Dunne (Rosumund Pike) mysteriously goes missing and how he is placed in the middle of a cut throat media circus as a murder suspect.

David Fincher’s on screen adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s critically acclaimed suspense novel, Gone Girl, starts eerily with  a close frame of Amy’s head resting on her husband Nick’s torso whilst a background voice of Nick sites the taboo questions of any relationship or marriage: “How are you feeling?” “What have we done to each other?” and the biggest ‘no go’ of them all “What are you thinking?”

After the opening scene the character Nick walks bewilderedly out of his house on a hazy morning in the middle of a suburban street in Missouri. He then heads to a bar that he and his sister, Margo (Carrie Coon) own. Nick gives off no insinuation to the audience that wrongdoing has yet occurred. When at the bar Nick and Margo play a board game that is arguably an ironic hint to the audience of the oncoming rollercoaster of entertainment and suspicion for not just the people of Missouri, but the whole of America.

The main and most crucial theme that drives Gone Girl is its encapsulation of its audience through the simplicities and first steps of relationships that soon turn uncontrollably complex without warning; a social phenomenon that is relative to any relationship. Gone Girl also tackles the theme of ‘newsworthiness’ in relation to an individual in the spot light of the media. By this I mean how the media through means of ideological production can manipulate the public’s opinion of an innocent person and turn that person into the main murder suspect of an ongoing case, with no physical evidence to back-up said claim. These blurred lines between culprit and celebrity is a method that is arguably used by all media outlets to sell news. Why? For profit, of course!

Fincher’s film keeps to the structure of Flynn’s novel by shifting effortlessly between the first-person narratives of the two main characters Nick (the present) and Amy (the past). The shift of perspectives explains the love filled past between these characters and how it has become a rotting conquest of domination and lies.

Another important addition to the film is the characters in charge of the investigation to Amy’s whereabouts. The enquiry is left to the level-headed Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) and a semi-experienced officer of the law and sceptical Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit). The two officers constantly grill Nick throughout the film of why is wife is missing, which he in turn does not have an answer for. Couple this with the revealing of Nick’s secret life and lust for other women during his marriage, it can be no surprise that an increase of hostility is not too far away for love rat Nick. The twist (a concept ever present in a Fincher film) is revealed half way through the film, which gives the audience the impression that the story has peaked and will now slow down until the end credits; but no, it only escalates and draws the audience even further in through the introduction of Amy’s stalker ex-boyfriend, Desi (Neil Patrick Harris).

A special mention should be credited to Tyler Perry’s portrayal as Nick’s efficient lawyer, Tanner Bolt who guides Affleck’s character through the media’s maze of likability, do’s and don’ts. Rosumund Pike flawlessly embodies the cool girl that Nick and the audience fall head over heels for and without giving too much of the story away, the perspective of guilt and innocence in relation to the main characters will change constantly throughout the film, especially the perception of the character Amy…

In conclusion Gone Girl is a film that uses the main characteristics of a broken marriage such as untrustworthiness, betrayal and a unique way of portraying the negatives of when couples get comfortable and that the least expected could be right around the corner.

The film contains aspects that probably do not quite relate to the majority of relationships (a la murder) and the final scenes to the film leave unanswered questions to certain characters that were not explored enough for the audience to sympathise with such as Harris’s character, Desi. Queries are also present in relation to the events that occur in the film and the improbability of the events when compared to reality.

Those few problems aside it is a brave, great film that by right should be highly recommended to any film lover and coincidently, will be greatly received by the ‘single pringles’ out there who will be glad to be ridin’ solo for the time being. Unfortunately, Gone Girl will leave the two halves of a couple with one solitary thought, “What is my partner capable of?”

Reporter’s rating: 8.5/10

About Sam McKeown 24 Articles
Student at University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) studying Criminology and Criminal Justice.

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