Gone Girl is the highly anticipated new film from director David Fincher. Based on Gillian Flynn’s hugely popular book of the same name, Gone Girl is a thriller with plenty of mystery and enough twists and turns to make this a perfect fit for a Fincher adaptation.
It’s a match made in heaven that I could not wait to see. The book, which I finished the night before, had me captivated from cover to cover and Fincher, when on top of his game, is one of the best directors working in Hollywood today. He is, after all the man who directed the likes of Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac and The Social Network to name a few.
Gone Girl stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as Nick and Amy Dunne, a married couple with their fair share of issues. When Nick returns home on the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, he is welcomed by the most unusual of sights; signs of a struggle and more importantly, his wife nowhere to be found.
Amy is missing and it is not long before the locals, the media and the police start to point the finger at Nick as the main suspect. The investigation into Amy’s disappearance is intertwined with her diary entries, revealing the ‘truth’ about their marriage and Amy’s disappearance.
Gone Girl centres on two rather fantastic lead performances from Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Affleck has had his fair share of criticism over the years, many suggesting that he should give up acting and focus solely on directing, which he has excelled at in recent years. Affleck’s performance changes things.
Nick Dunne is a character that an audience will, throughout the film, find themselves alternating between taking his side and going against him. His charm and innocence during the early stages of the investigation is soon contradicted by the shallow man he becomes as more of his secrets are revealed. Affleck absolutely nails both sides of this character.
Rosamund Pike is equally as impressive as Amy Dunne. There is more to her character than the perfect wife she is shown as. Those that have read the book will know what to expect however, without giving too much away, Amy has more secrets than you could possibly imagine. This is the highlight of Pike’s career so far and deservedly so. She plays Amy with a sense of vulnerability that, like Nick, is contradicted by her coldness.
As well as its two lead performances, Gone Girl has a fine supporting cast for Fincher to work with. Carrie Coon in particular as Nick’s twin sister Margo is a delight to watch, providing both a sympathetic shoulder for Nick to lean on and a stern voice in his ear when she, just as the audience have, learns his secrets as the film goes on.
Neil Patrick Harris goes against type to play Desi Collings, an ex-boyfriend of Amy who is drawn into the investigation. Harris has a creepiness to him in every scene that just adds to the mystery surrounding the disappearance. The scene stealer however is Tyler Perry as Nick’s charismatic lawyer, Tanner Bolt. Perry is slick in the role and he brings a comedic element to proceedings, not enough though to turn this into a sitcom.
Gone Girl, like all of David Fincher’s films, is beautifully shot and skilfully directed. Jeff Cronenweth’s cinematography is first class and very similar to his work on The Social Network, on both occasions the look of the film creating as much of the tension as the performances.
That is where the genius of Fincher comes in to play. He combines the visual style and the performances in his films so well to create the suspense that leaves the audience in the palm of his hand. Gone Girl is no different. I have read the book and knew what was coming yet even I found some moments unbearably tense because of Fincher’s direction. He is the modern day Master of Suspense.
As well as the visuals and the performances, the atmosphere in Gone Girl is notched up to breaking point thanks to a note perfect score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The two have worked well with Fincher before and I wouldn’t be surprised if their collaborations continue for years to come; they just seem such a natural fit together.
Gone Girl is one of the year’s best films and just shows how far David Fincher has come as a director since his debut Alien 3. Quite simply, it is a film not to be missed.
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