“Gone Girl was directed by David Fincher and written by Gillian Flynn. It stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, and Carrie Coon.
Gone Girl could have only been directed by David Fincher. While I haven’t read the novel, it’s easy to tell that there is no other director working that could have tackled this sort of material as wonderfully as Fincher has. Gone Girl is dark, calculating, smart, intense, and genuinely one of the most horrifying looks at marriage that I have ever seen. It’s easily one of the best films to be released all year and is one of the best movies Fincher has ever directed. Gillian Flynn, adapting her own novel for her first screenwriting credit, really is the only one who could have wrote the movie. There’s no one better that understands the specific sort of storytelling in the novel and who could have adapted it to the big screen mainly since she wrote it.
Marriage is hard. For Nick (Affleck) and Amy (Pike) Dunne…well…it may be a bit harder. On the day of their 5th anniversary, Amy has vanished. There are no clear cut clues as to what happened or when it happened except that it seems someone forced their way into the Dunne household and took her. Things with Nick and Amy started out well as these relationships always seem to do — Nick was a journalist in New York until he lost his job while Amy was raised with a trust fund set in her name. When things begin to take a turn for the worst, the two of them move to Nick’s hometown in Missouri where he uses the little bit left in Amy’s trust fund to open a bar with his twin sister, Margo.
There are two sides to every story: Nick’s story is told in the first person as we follow him through the ongoing investigation while Amy’s story is told in flashbacks and voiceovers as she writes in her diary focusing on the beginning of her relationship with Nick until around the last days before her disappearance. Nick makes himself look innocent, loving, and unable to commit some of the things he’s being accused of. Amy’s journal tells a different story — one of a violent man who began to fall out of love with her. A man who began to turn violent. What starts off as a kidnapping turns into a cat-and-mouse game between two people who took the vow “‘till death do us part.” Who’s death though? That’s the question.
Who better to play Nick and Amy Dunne than Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike? Okay maybe those aren’t the first two names that popped into peoples heads. Ben Affleck took the role of Nick Dunne and made it his — as someone who faced his share of adversity and hatred earlier in his career, it’s not surprising how easily he was able to slip into Nick. As for Pike, she’s probably an unknown to many which is an odd thing to say for someone who was previously a Bond Girl. But all of that is about to change — she’s a legitimate contender for many Best Actress awards and will find her time in the spotlight very shortly. As for the rest of the cast, Fincher has put together a rather bizarre group of characters and has gotten some of the best performances yet in any of his movies. The most surprising of all though is Tyler Perry. For me personally, I’ve never been the biggest Perry fan. But I’ve always trusted Fincher with his choices and he proved me wrong. Playing the role of Nick’s attorney Tanner Bolt, he comes across as a powerhouse who can handle any sort of situation thrown his way.
Moving away from the big players, credit has to be given to those behind the scenes as well. Cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth’s sleek and stylistic cinematography really makes Gone Girl a visual treat. Working with Fincher for the fourth time, Cronenweth knows how Fincher works and has given us Fincher’s best looking film to date. Working with Fincher three times in a row, it’s safe to say that composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross know the type of tone Fincher is looking for. The pairs scores on The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo were never overwhelming and never called attention to itself. Reznor and Ross are masters are creating subtle scores while also using the silence to their advantage, to make things feel all the more uncomfortable and unsettling. Their work on Gone Girl is the best they’ve done yet and could very well earn the pair their 2nd nomination for Best Original Score.
To put it simply, Gone Girl is the must see movie of October, and for most people the must see movie of 2014. Every Fincher film is usually a lock to garner several award nominations and Gone Girl is no different. While it’s no guarantee Fincher will end up actually winning (he’s currently 0-2), Gone Girl may actually be the best chance he has at this point in his career. Rosamund Pike is a lock to be nominated and at this moment in time has to be considered the frontrunner for Best Actress. There’s not a whole lot one can say about the performance without giving too much away, but she’s the strongest part of the film and is both the most brilliant and most unpredictable character of the year. If there is only one movie you get to see this year, make sure you see Gone Girl — the most twisted and demented love story you’ll see in a long, long time.
“Gone Girl” hits theaters on Oct. 3.
We had the opportunity to see the film at a special New York Film Critics Series screening. Author Gillian Flynn was in attendance and participated in a fascinating Q&A. You can read the highlights here.