DVD REVIEW: GONE GIRL / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: DAVID FINCHER / SCREENPLAY: GILLIAN FLYNN / STARRING: BEN AFFLECK, ROSAMUND PIKE, NEIL PATRICK HARRIS / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 2ND
Adapted from the acclaimed best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl is the latest movie to be directed by David Fincher, best known for directing films like Fight Club and The Social Network.
On the eve of his fifth wedding anniversary, bar owner Nick Dunne (Affleck) reports that his beautiful wife, Amy (Pike), has mysteriously gone missing. Arriving at the scene of the crime, detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) knows that all is not as it appears to be. As evidence of growing financial troubles and domestic disputes arise, the finger of suspicion soon turns towards Nick, and as a result, Nick's portrait of a happy and blissful union soon begins to fall apart with his “smiling sociopath” public image becoming more of a hot topic in the media firestorm than the search for his ‘gone girl’ wife. Along the way, we hear Amy’s own voice through the pages of an incriminating diary, which offers an alternative reading to their apparently idyllic married lifestyle.
Fincher is clearly at the top of his game here as he superbly combines the stylish glossy sheen of The Game with the forensic procedural appeal of both Zodiac and Seven, and yet he does this to wrong-foot the audience in an ingenious way of taking them through this merry dance of death through the murderous and warped labyrinths of modern marriage. This story is essentially a bifurcated one, and both Fincher and Flynn have successfully managed to take that structure from her book, and adapt and reconfigure it to make it work for the screen. It’s part murder mystery, part cynically sexy social satire, and part absurdist hyper-realistic thriller. The core drive of the film is roleplaying, and this is a film where nearly everyone is adopting or discarding these various personas and facades of unravelling deceit and mistrust in order to hide their true narcissistic selves. Everyone is putting on a performance, editing and rewriting himself or herself in order to pretend to be something they are not for the public, the media, and ultimately, for one another.
Fincher is well known for getting the best out of his actors and this is no exception. The supporting players give solid performances, but as Nick and Amy Dunne, Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike are superbly cast, with Affleck convincingly playing someone who is really an unsympathetic and unforgiving slimeball. However, the astoundingly flawless Pike completely steals the film out from under everybody’s nose. Immersing herself into the role (emotionally and physically), she delivers a hypnotic portrayal of an enigmatic character that is truly ‘gone’, even when she’s at the centre of the drama. Both Affleck and Pike both complement each other brilliantly, with their differing tastes, preferences and stances perfectly reflecting the jagged mismatch of their totally messed up marriage.
Gorgeously shot, brilliantly edited, wittily written, masterfully performed, and handsomely directed, Gone Girl is an involving, engrossing, shocking and completely gripping hyperbolic drama that is one of Fincher’s finest works.
Special Features: Audio Commentary, and Amazing Amy book