Review – Gone Girl

Gone Girl Poster

Gone Girl Poster

David Fincher directs this film adaptation of the acclaimed novel.  Starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Casey Wilson, Missi Pyle, and one of the topless dancers from the Blurred Lines music video.

Nick (Affleck) and Amy (Pike) appear to have a perfect marriage.  When Amy mysteriously goes missing on their anniversary, however, Nick’s life is thrown into a chaotic storm.  As more and more things just don’t seem to add up, Nick is soon labeled the most hated man in America as he becomes the prime suspect in his wife’s apparent murder.

Followed by the police, hounded by the media, and crucified by talk show host Ellen Abbot (Pyle) Nick hires the best lawyer he can find (Perry) to prove he is being framed for a crime he didn’t commit.  With his twin sister Margo (Carrie Coon) as his only other ally, Nick races to find out what really happened to Amy before it is too late for her, or for him.

Unfolding with a slow burn, Gone Girl builds the tension as it weaves one intriguing revelation into another.  Taking it’s time to develop its characters and build a story, it doesn’t sacrifice interest along the way.  Taut storytelling keeps the intrigue high the entire time and I can all but guarantee that you won’t guess how things turn out, even if you think you know (those who have read the book aside).

Though I haven’t read the novel on which this film is based, from a quick fact check, it seems that the changes made are very minor, despite early rumors to the contrary.  If you’re curious about how well the book translated to screen, check out this spoiler filled article by fellow WAFCA film critic, Lauren Bradshaw.

Whether you read the book first, or see the film first, I would suggest avoiding spoilers beforehand.  The less you know about what it going on, the bigger the impact is going to be.  There are some real mind games going on here, both amongst the characters and between them and the audience.  Very little is as it seems.

Superbly written and acted, this is a well done thriller that doesn’t insult the audience’s intelligence.  There is a vein of dark humor throughout, aided by a cast with comedy experience, but this is in no way a comedy despite a few moments that inspired fits of laughter in the audience.  It’s a psychological gargle blaster determined to leave your brain screaming.  That’s not to say it’s confusing or overly complicated – through deft narrative and careful story telling, the plot is easy to follow despite the hairpin turns it takes throughout the course.

The film is filled with a cast that may inspire some trepidation – comedians Perry and Harris don’t seem like a great fit for the material and Affleck can’t seem to shake the reputation he gave himself during his earlier years.  There is no need for concern as everyone here works perfectly.  I will admit, it’s hard to see NPH as anyone other than Barney Stinson and that was a tad distracting.  It almost seems to work to the film’s advantage, though, giving a bit more of a disturbing punch to where his character goes.

I’m not a parental advisory critic, but every once in a while I feel the need to just put this out there:  This is by no means a film for children.  Deeply disturbing and graphic at times, the sex and violence, and general psychoticness of some of the characters is a lot for anyone to take.  Satisfyingly raw and complicated for adults, its R rating should not be taken lightly.

This is not a film you will easily forget, and the ending, which will surely leave many crying out, is one of the better out there.

Mrs. Hamster says:

“I haven’t read the book, but unlike most book-to-movie adaptations it had character development and felt like a complete story you could understand even if you hadn’t read it.”

My rating: Five out of five hats

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Trailer:

Gone Girl disappears into 3,014 theaters October 3

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