Oct 23, 2014

Review: Gone Girl (2014)

Leaving out Alien 3, there are very few directors who are as consistent as David Fincher is. Alien 3 isn't quite his fault anyway because from what I understand there was a lot of studio interference. It was also his first movie and part of a hugely popular and established series, so I think we can cut Fincher a bit of slack for that one.

Getting to the main topic at hand, Gone Girl is adapted from Gillian Flynn's identically titled novel from 2012. After attracting some interest from just a manuscript for the book, she even wrote the script to the film. Staying faithful to the source material, Gone Girl integrates the typical David Fincher style that I love and will keep loving. 

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Genre: drama, mystery, thriller
Directed by: David Fincher
Produced by: Ceán Chaffin, Joshua Donen, Arnon Milchan, etc.
Written by: Gillian Flynn
Music by: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
Running time: 149 minutes
Production company: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Regency Enterprises, TSG Entertainment, etc.
Distributed by: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, 20th Century Fox Australia, Big Picture 2 Films, etc.
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $61,000,000
Box office: $368,061,911 (Worldwide) (as of April 13)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, David Clennon, Lisa Banes, Missi Pyle, Emily Ratajkowski, Casey Wilson, Lola Kirke, Boyd Holbrook, Sela Ward, Lee Norris, Jamie McShane, Leonard Kelly-Young, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Pete Housman, Lynn Adrianna 

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Synopsis


Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) lives with his wife Amy Elliott-Dunne (Rosamund Pike) in St. Louis, Missouri amid financial trouble. Both had lost their jobs recently due to the recession and Nick's mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer which prompted a move from New York City. The morning of Nick and Amy's fifth wedding anniversary, Nick arrives to an empty house and a smashed table. Worried, Nick calls the police. As the evidence mounts, it's not long before Nick becomes the prime suspect in Amy's murder.


Review


Gone Girl is a beautiful film. Every shot is so meticulously planned and it makes you realize that it's not every day you get to see such a lovingly crafted piece of cinema. I'm not in any way surprised because after all, David Fincher has brought along his friend Jeff Cronenweth as cinematographer. They already worked together before with Fight Club, The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo so it's no surprise that Gone Girl is a feast for the eyes.

I don't want to get too much into the story because it needs to be experienced on its own. I've never read the book, but what I can say is that it's a story that never stops for a second. For a movie that's 149 minutes, it feels more like 90. Gone Girl is always ready to change the situation on the turn of a dime and it does it so effortlessly. It's a roller coaster that influences your perceptions as if they were nothing and every moment of it feels believable. It's also unbelievably well paced which is probably why it feels shorter than it is. It's punctuated by rare moments of dark, wry humour that is also very welcome.

In terms of performances, there's not a bad thing I can say. Ben Affleck has matured and grown to be a far better actor than he used to be. But it's especially Rosamund Pike who deserves major praise for her role. I've never seen her play a character like Amy Elliott-Dunne but I certainly would again.

Everyone else playing secondary characters also do a great job. David Fincher utilizes everyone perfectly as if they were made for their roles. Yes, even Tyler Perry which is honestly quite weird. I remember reading about his casting originally and still couldn't quite believe it when I saw his name in the opening credits. But believe me though, he does his job perfectly and he totally proved me wrong.

The last thing that has to be mentioned is how good the Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross score is. Out of the last three David Fincher films, I believe this one to be their finest work. Reznor and Ross find the perfect balance of not getting in the way of the action but also perfectly accentuating it. It excels at making you feel tense and I'm looking forward to listening to the score on my own time.

Gone Girl feels like David Fincher's most self-assured film. There are tons of big shocks and for a story that hinges on some pretty big planning, there aren't any glaring holes either. I came away impressed with Ben Affleck and especially Rosamund Pike who does some very fine work. Gone Girl is thrilling and it's going to make you talk as much as it's going to make you think.

Rating


8.5/10