Monday, October 20, 2014

Gone Girl - Movie Review

Gone Girl is a mystery thriller adapted for the screen from a novel written by Gillian Flynn. The movie was directed by David Fincher and stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick harrs, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Boyd Holbrook, Sela Ward, and Emily Ratajkowski.

From the outside looking in, Nick and Amy Dunne (Affleck and Pike) seemed to be living a fairy tale life although a few setbacks have sent their relationship adrift. When Amy turns up missing, and under suspicious circumstances, all eyes turn to Nick and the possibility he may be responsible even though he is doing everything in his power to have her found. As evidence begins to stack up against him and the case begins to turn towards a homicide, he relies on the help of his sister Margo (Coon) and a high powered lawyer (Perry) to help him figure out what's really going on.

David Fincher is very good at creating intensely dramatic thrillers (See: Se7en and Fight Club) that draw you in to the minds of the characters and Gone Girl provides some very interesting subject matter for him to work with. Casting Ben Affleck as Nick was a stroke of genius as his demeanor and ability to project a sense of ambiguity are key to his character making the movie work. Rosamund Pike, on the other hand, really didn't do much for me and detracts from the picture just as much as Affleck strengthens it. Supporting roles played by Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, and Tyler Perry add some much needed depth although Neil Patrick Harris is so out of place in his character it made his interactions almost comical when they should have been powerful and intense.

From what I understand, as with any adapted novel, there were a lot of story elements left on the cutting room floor and, after seeing the movie, I believe the novel would be much more entertaining to read than the movie was to watch. The first act is very good as we begin to see the story unfold and mysteries pile on top of each other. The second act is where the film really came to a screeching halt and I began to wonder just how long this ride was going to take. By the time the third act came around and most of the reveals have been laid out and explained, I really began not to care any more. The story, to me, became convoluted and lost all of the first act's intensity which only left me wanting to watch Affleck play out his character's arc. His performance is really this movie's one saving grace and I was thoroughly impressed with how he single handedly kept everything from falling apart.

Gone Girl is getting lots of attention among folks that talk about which movies will be relevant come awards season. Honestly, I really don't see it. Fincher does a great job setting up the story although the more he wades in, the more he begins to sink under the weight of the source material. As I'm finishing this review, I'm still on the fence as to whether I believe it is a good or bad movie although the fact that I am even having that debate makes me lean towards the good. There is a lot to like about the movie, but it is also very frustrating at times and just feels way too long. If you see Gone Girl, I hope you enjoy it more than I did.


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