Gone Girl

Posted October 2, 2014 by in


Total Score

5/ 5

Quick Stats

Genre: thriller, satire
Director: David Fincher
MPAA Rating: R
Actors: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris
Length: 149 minutes
Release Date: 10/3/2014
Studio: Artemple - Hollywood, New Regency Pictures, Pacific Standard, Regency Enterprises
What We Thought

Gone Girl is a smart satire with an all-time great screen villain.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
Gone Girl is a smart satire with an all-time great screen villain.  The film is easily one of the director’s best to-date, if not the best.  Simply put, Gone Girl is a Must-See.
     Ben Affleck stars as Nick Dunne, who comes home one day to find his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) missing.  A broken glass coffee table suggests a struggle.  Standing in the room, alone, he seems genuinely distressed at the discovery.
     Nick contacts the police, and is questioned by Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens).  All signs point to Nick as the culprit.  But did he do it?
     With his wife still missing, Nick stands beside a poster of his wife at a press conference, and grins broadly for the cameras.  He enjoys his celebrity status, the public’s sympathy, the attention.  A stranger asks to take a selfie with him, which he gladly obliges.  These days, anyone can become a celebrity, and for all the wrong reasons.  He is, after all, a suspect of abduction and possible murder.
     The more we learn about their marriage from Amy’s diary, the more probable it seems he’s guilty, with only a dozen motives.  He’s no angel, that’s for damn sure, and his conviction would mean the death penalty.
     Gone Girl flashes back to their first encounter, and follows them through the disintegration of their five-year marriage leading up to the day of her disappearance.  It started out so perfectly, but a crumbling economy and a sickness in the family take a heavy toll.  Gone Girl takes a cynical stance on marriage, but with a divorce rate in this country of 50%, who’s to argue?
     The soundtrack by long time Fincher collaborators Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross perfectly sets the film’s tone, at once tense and joyously sinister, although the score tends to overpower the dialog in early scenes.  I listen to the Technically Missing track again and again as I write this review, which plays over the big reveal.  I could watch the entire film for this sequence alone, and the sequence itself a dozen times, but that’s all I’ll say about it.  For once, the film’s trailer hasn’t ruined it, and neither will I.  I will say it reveals the workings of a deeply sick, disillusioned psyche, and a cold, calculating mind.  Like I said, it’s a great screen villain, up there with John Doe from Fincher’s own Se7en.
     Performances are strong all-around, and the film could be looking at Oscar nods, particularly Dickens for Supporting Actress as the detective assigned to the case, and especially for Rosamund Pikes.  Years from now, looking back at Pike’s career, this will be the performance people will talk about and remember her for.  The credit goes as much to her as it does to the screenwriter, Gillian Flynn, who adapted the script from her own novel of the same name.  It’s a great character, a great role, brilliantly played.  Both Amy and Nick have two levels, the people that they are, and the people they pretend to be around others, even each other, and both Pikes and Affleck portray these facets perfectly—yes, Affleck too.
     It’s a great film, but I’d emphasize that it’s not a perfect one (if there’s such a thing).  Neil Patrick Harris plays a creepy ex-lover of Amy’s named Desi.  The character is a pure plot-device, and lacks the dimensions of Nick and Amy.  As with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Fincher falls a little too in love with his own work, and has a hard time wrapping things up at the end.  The ending itself requires substantial suspension of disbelief, but consider that the film is satire, a comic exaggeration, and not meant to be taken as reality (the exaggeration, however, is only slight, a sad fact).  Unlike most Hollywood endings, this one doesn’t play it safe, doesn’t give you what you want unearned.  It’s dark, bitter, and completely suited to what has lead up to it.  See it theaters before it’s gone.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.

One Comment

    Tasha Mc

    Glad that you liked this one.

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