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Gone Girl Review: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike Deliver Solid Performances in David Fincher Thriller


Anyone who has been to a wedding has likely heard the quote, “marriage is not to be entered into lightly”, Gone Girl is a movie that will affirm the positions of the cynical, and plant suspicions in the minds of the most trusting.

How well do we REALLY know anyone? What secrets do those closest to us hold? What are the people we love TRULY capable of? In the end, are we really brave enough to hear the answers to such questions?

Gone Girl is an example of the precarious nature of a marriage full of secrets and deceit trying carefully to balance itself on a razors edge. What happens when the promises on which love and marriage are created, are then broken, discarded, and forgotten? What happens when the LOVE is GONE?

Gillian Flynn was brought in to adapt her best-selling novel for the screen. The end product shows she did it masterfully. If directors and producers want as faithful an adaptation as possible, it would obviously serve them well to hire the person with the most intimate knowledge of the people and places of that particular world.

Now that I’ve seen Gone Girl, I truly couldn’t fathom anybody other than David Fincher directing it. He has a penchant for telling stories that exist in a world painted with tarnish and grit in such a way that it reveals its imperfections and flaws to the viewer. This story gives him just as ample an opportunity to take the viewers on a trip through that world, one covered in a hazy yellow veneer resembling the color of old newsprint. Despite these standard visual elements Fincher and cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth were still able to give this film slick, sophisticated, and visually stylish appearance.

Ben Affleck gives the greatest performance of his career to date. Affleck plays Nick Dunne, a man struggling to maintain his composure and innocence in the wake of his wife Amy’s disappearance on the day of their anniversary. All the while police suspicions weigh heavier upon him, and tabloid “journalists” attempt to convict him of murder in the court of public opinion.

Nick may not be the most likeable character at times, but Affleck’s genuinely human portrayal of Nick makes it difficult not to feel sympathy for him.

Rosamund Pike delivers, dare I say, an award worthy performance. It may do her well to make room on the mantle come awards season. Pike plays Amy Dunne, Nick’s wife and the “gone girl” in question. She is stunningly beautiful, intelligent, and ultimately VERY CALCULATING. “clues” found during the investigation into her disappearance answer questions and unearth secrets. But we will come to find that Amy has some secrets all her own. Pike breaks down the complexities of Amy, owns them, and makes them her own in brilliant fashion.

This movie also has an incredible supporting cast with the likes of Kim Dickens, Tyler Perry, Missy Pyle, Patrick Fugit, Sela Ward, and Neil Patrick Harris. Everyone in the supporting cast came together to create and indestructible foundation on which this story was built. I would be remiss in my duties if I did not take a moment to specifically highlight the performance of Carrie Coon, who plays Nick’s twin sister Margo Dunne. Coon is a scene stealer, displaying a ferocious tenacity and caustic, sledgehammer wit at times. There is also sincerity and integrity in the sibling bond portrayed by Coon and Affleck.

I would definitely like to see her named coupled with “Best Supporting Actress” when award nominations are being doled out this year.

Fincher again collaborated with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to create the film’s musical score. The end product is one that is at times sentimental, ominous, unsettling, kinetic, and intense. The score lends so much to the film that it becomes a character in its own right. It draws you into the emotion of the scenes in an unnerving and uneasy fashion.

Of course, I would expect no less from Reznor and Ross, who have honed their skills over Fincher’s last two films. Perhaps there are more little gold statues in the future of this collaborative pair.

As a story-teller Fincher can be equal parts sadist and cynic, and I mean that in a GOOD way. He seems to take joy in bending and twisting the collective minds of his audience, allowing them snap back into place just before they break and the doing it all over again.

Fincher deftly uses Flynn’s story to let tension and pressure build up. Nick’s story is told through the daily events both preceding and following the disappearance of his wife. Amy’s story is told by way of insert scenes depicting entries in her personal journal. The entries range from the beginning of their relationship to just before her disappearance. These scenes are vital in developing the characters, and their relationship throughout their marriage. Especially in Amy’s case since this is the only representation we initially get to see of her.

At about the mid-point of the movie, just as Fincher has you in his grasp, he unleashes a kick in the head of Hithcockian proportions.

The shock of what had happened was palpable in the theater where I saw it, as gasps and murmurs from viewers in disbelief radiated throughout the theater. Assuming that anyone reading this hasn’t yet read the book, you may find yourself in disbelief and grasping for a clue of what’s going to transpire from that point on. Believe me when I tell you he’s not done with you by a damn sight. In the immortal words of the Carpenters, “we’ve only just begun”. From that point on I was stunned, intrigued, and excited to find out just where this ride was going to take me, regardless of the outcome.

Important questions, leading up to that point had been answered, but now even more have taken their place. I had no idea how it would end…or if it would end at all well for anybody involved.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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