Film Review: Gone Girl

Gone Girl

When Nick (Ben Affleck) comes home from work to find his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) has disappeared, a large-scale manhunt ensues. However, as evidence comes to light and secrets are revealed, Nick ends up being squarely at the centre of the investigation.

David Fincher has amassed quite the body of work, but what’s impressive is that pretty much every one of his films is admired and revered. Even films such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has its fair share of fans, and so it’s no surprise that Gone Girl developed a fair amount of hype in the run up to its release.

Fortunately, for the most part, it delivers on its hype and will go down as yet another strong entry in Fincher’s filmography.

At first glance, Gone Girl is a simple whodunnit but it soon evolves into something much more (it’s difficult to go into any kind of detail without spoiling the whole thing). It becomes en examination of a marriage that seems perfectly normal on the outside but is actually anything but underneath.

A good chunk of the film is told from Amy’s point of view via a diary she kept and with each entry we learn a little more about her Nick’s relationship, all the time becoming that little bit more intriguing and eye-opening. However, as is always the case with a biased POV, it always leaves the question of just how much of this can we trust.

Ben Affleck - Gone Girl

Fincher does an excellent job of creating two distinct sides to the story, and as we’ve come to expect from him, the film is at its best when it delves that little bit deeper into the darker side of the human psyche. He paints a disturbing portrayal of middle class suburbia, and suggests that even the most seemingly grounded of people harbour deep secrets whilst happy marriages conceal darkness and can go sour very quickly. What’s also interesting is that Fincher injects a surprising amount of dark humour into the film which adds an even more unsettling edge to everything.

The film is also an interesting examination of the media and how it can manipulate the truth and push a certain agenda based on empty assumptions. As far as TV stations and newspapers are concerned, Nick is guilty until proven innocent, something that rings very true with today’s media.

Ben Affleck is a decent male lead, giving Nick just enough of a nasty side to make you question his involvement, but it’s Rosamund Pike’s Amy that really shines. In the flashbacks recounting her diary entries we see her as the ideal loving wife, although Pike somehow lets us know there’s a little more to it than that and subsequently we’re never really sure if she can be trusted. It’s a fantastic performance that makes Amy the focal point of the film despite Affleck’s Nick receiving more screen time.

 Not everything works quite so well, however, with the ending in particular feeling somewhat rushed and abrupt, leaving us abandoned in a story that feels only partly told.

Despite misgivings over the ending, Gone Girl delivers a healthy dose of intrigue and misdirection, ultimately culminating in a film that can’t help but grab your attention. It might not be in the upper echelons of Fincher’s work, but it doesn’t have to be in order to still be thoroughly entertaining.

Pros

  • Great performance from Rosamund Pike
  • Twisty, turny story
  • Fincher’s trademark great direction

Cons

  • Rushed, abrupt ending
  • Weaker supporting cast

4 pigeons

4/5 pigeons

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29 thoughts on “Film Review: Gone Girl

  1. Zoë says:

    Excellent review! I was really sour that my cinema took this off without giving it a total of two weeks of play time, I was looking forward to it. Looks like it was a solid flick!

    • Thanks Zoe! That really sucks it got such a short run time! I’d have thought a film this big would have got a much longer time. I think it’s been here in the UK for about 6 weeks or so now nearly.

      • Zoë says:

        Sheesh, my cinema here is just really useless is all. Hence I usually HAVE to watch the minute the movie is released, otherwise it will be missed. I am wondering how long they will play Interstellar…

  2. hybridZone says:

    Perfect review, this has to be one of my favorite Fincher movies now, the performances were great, Tyler Perry was a huge surprise for me

  3. Stu says:

    Nice work Chris. You liked it a little more than me but you make a good case for it! I thought Pike was OK but not really deserving of the praise she has received. I think I must be missing something as I’m well and truly in the minority!

  4. I’m still intending to see this. Fincher’s last fe have really left me cold but i’m hearing so many good things about this one so i’ll watch it. Great review Chris

  5. Mark Walker says:

    Fine work as always sir! I have reservations about this but it still sounds like Fincher delivers, for the most part. I’ll get around to it soon enough.

  6. The final 20 minutes kinda blew it for me. It had been pretty great up until then. Fair review Chris; good to read your work buddy.

  7. Ryan says:

    I finally just got around to seeing this one (my theater took forever to get it), but I thought it was pretty brilliant. Just when you think you’ve figured out the story, Fincher throws something else right at you. Great review!

  8. Nice Review… It was released in India very late… its second week and still running full house…. What I liked in the whole movie was the take on the issue of living in a world hyped and tailored by media … Rosamund Pike performance was great and I totally agree with you they could have done a lot better with the support cast…

    • Thank you! The whole aspect of the media was a really interesting one and one of the darker sides to the story. But yes, the supporting cast was quite weak. They did relatively well with what they had, but I’d liked to have seen more of them.

  9. sati says:

    So glad you liked Rosamund! For me so far it’s definitely the performance of the year.

  10. ruth says:

    Glad you finally saw this Chris! I was so impressed by Pike too, never saw her displayed such range before, wow! I actually thought some of the supporting cast were good, esp the lady who played the lead detective, but I found Neil Patrick Harris’ casting a bit odd here.

    • She was great, wasn’t she? Just so sweet and innocent one minute and then suddenly all menacing and creepy. I think the supporting cast were pretty good with what they were given but they were underutilised for me and thus came across as a little weak.

  11. Glad you liked it. The heart of the film is something that David Fincher makes clear and both Affleck and Pike are accustomed to with every characteristic of their performances – is that Gone Girl is in the long run, a love story, one made accurate by its contrariness.

  12. keith7198 says:

    Top review Chris. I had so many things going on that I missed this. Hearing a lot of great things about it.

  13. Nostra says:

    Great review of a movie I really enjoyed. Loved the fact it kept the viewer guessing and although I understand your feelings about the ending I thought it was good.

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