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GONE GIRL (review)

gone_girl_ver2GONE GIRL
Written by Gillian Flynn
Directed by David Fincher
Starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris
 

Nick Dunne: When I think of my wife, I always imagine her head.

I am not myself married. Nor have I ever been. And perhaps, now that I’ve seen David Fincher’s GONE GIRL, I may choose never to be. If this is the state of the modern marriage, it is a miracle anyone still chooses to embark upon the journey to begin with. GONE GIRL is a bleak, twisted account of the lengths we will go to in order to get away from the one’s we love, or at least once did. It also exposes just how far some of us are willing to go to save face in front of a tragedy obsessed, media manipulated society. Beyond being a critique though, GONE GIRL is also a tense thriller that keeps you guessing throughout. Well, it tries to anyway.

We are introduced to Nick and Amy Dunne (Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, finally in a role that her talent can stand out in) on the morning of their fifth anniversary. As he downs a bourbon at 11:00 in the morning, which certainly doesn’t signify anything good, we are shown flashbacks in the form of diary entries, Amy’s diary to be precise, detailing how they met, fell in love, got married, lost their jobs and ended up leaving New York City for suburban Missouri to take care of Nick’s dying mother. Amidst these flashbacks, we also learn that Amy has gone missing that very same morning. The crime scene at their home is a little suspicious to the investigating officers, which sets off both their investigation into Nick’s potential involvement with the disappearance, as well as our suspicion of Nick himself.

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Affleck’s every man composure and genuine shock over his wife’s disappearance is what at first leads the viewer to think he is innocent. His aloofness gives pause, but we also understand that there is no right way to react to this scenario. The situation is further complicated by his apparent lack of interest in his marriage and that only further taints the flashbacks where they seem so happy. It leads the viewer to question when everything went all wrong. Only it isn’t as simple as that; no marriage ever is. Sometimes, the chemistry between a couple sours over time in tiny, imperceptible shifts that can add up when you aren’t looking, or are choosing to look the other way. With each new adventure a marriage consciously embarks upon or is forced to go through, the individuals within that marriage run the risk of getting further away from themselves and further away from each other. They can only pray their relationship is never as strained as Nick and Amy’s. Fincher knows this and he plays with these subtleties throughout the film.

GONE GIRL is based upon Gillian Flynn’s wildly popular novel and adapted by the author herself. Although I cannot speak for the book, on film, Flynn’s story is told in just the right way to inspire suspense and suspicion in the viewer. There are so many inconsistencies in the story of this marriage, as it is presented to us, that it becomes apparent early on in the film that the viewer should perhaps be weary of what they’re being fed. In fact, in my case, I found it became too apparent and my mistrust in the film made some of the twists seem somewhat predictable. This did not make them any less compelling or revealing, but it did occasionally take me out of the film. Still, Fincher executes this mystery with style and skill, so much so that it seems almost effortless for him at times. As he weaves in and out of different tones, ranging from disturbing and uncomfortable to oddly humorous and dark, he does so seamlessly and brilliantly. Just because something seems perfect on the outside though, doesn’t mean it isn’t flawed on the inside. Just ask Nick and Amy, or any other of your married friends.

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