Saturday, October 4, 2014

Film Review - Gone Girl

Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) wanders into the bar that he owns with his sister Margo (Carrie Coon). It's the morning of his 5th anniversary and he needs a drink of bourbon at 9:30 AM. He receives a phone call from a neighbour then returns home to find his wife Amy( Rosamund Pike) is missing and calls the police to report it.

As the police gather information, Nick's lack of knowledge of his wife's likes, activities, friends and accomplishments seem odd.  On top of this his laid back attitude towards the events raises the suspicions of lead investigator Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens)

Director David Fincher has a rich amount of material to work with for this film. A mystery of a missing person, potential murder case,  quirky mid-west investigating detectives, a young big city couple moved to suburban middle America, plus a media circus driven by cable TV.  Gillian Flynn writer of the book adapts her complex novel to the screen with very positive effects.

A good portion of Nick and Amy's relationship is presented as flashbacks; entries narrated by Amy from her diary. Starting with their first meeting at a party, to key events in their courtship and into the first couple of years of marriage are portrayed in the earlier parts of the film. Things are good between the two and many of their exchanges are punctuated with the phrase that they are not going to be that couple followed by mention of a negative characteristic of most other couples.

However, as time goes buy they do become that couple as the recent recession effects both of their writing careers, a family health issue leads them to Missouri, and life, time and familiarity all have a profound effect on their relationship.

Ben Affleck turns in one of his better performances as Nick Dunne. He plays boyish charm well and is very believable as a man who is either half a step behind or 2 steps ahead of the events. Is he making honest mistakes or is the weight of what he has to hide betraying his actions? The star of the film is clearly Rosamund Pike. Donning first and American followed closely by a southern accident she transforms herself into at least 5 different personas during the film. She uses all manner of expression and she constantly unpeels different layers of Amy.  Pike emphasizes facial expressions, physical appearance, tone of voice, wardrobe and most importantly sudden unexpected acts to construct her character.  Kim Dickens is also strong as Detective Boney relying on the facts and not yielding to sentiment, media or public perception of the case.

Gone Girl is an engrossing portrayal of modern marriage. The Dunnes like many newlyweds think that they have it figured off the bat. But family, finances, and circumstance tend to eventually arise to show that you don't.  The film drags a bit in the second part of the first act but once it hits its groove with a new character in the driver's seat.

*** Out of 4.

Gone Girl | David Fincher | U.S.A.  | 2014 | 149 Minutes.

Tags: Diary, Disappearance, Missouri, Writers, Suburbs, Crime, Media, Search, Stalker

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