Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon and Tyler Perry in a film by David Fincher.
Based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl follows Nick Dunne as he deals with the aftermath of his wife gone missing. An intense media circus ensues on Dunne, when the case begins to unravel and he’s suspected to not be as innocent as he proclaims.
In “Gone Girl,” Nick Dunne (Affleck) is in a loveless, dying marriage to wife Amy (Pike) when one morning, she disappears–leaving behind a shattered glass table and blood marks on the wall above the kitchen counter.
As a police investigation begins and media attention is showered upon Nick, his family and his in-laws, more facts of the case come out painting Nick as a suspect and public enemy number one to a distraught town and a fixated audience.
“Gone Girl” is an intriguing portrait of our television media and how it capitalizes on tragedy and people’s assumptions based on the history of domestic violence. Nick’s trial takes place on the news when newscaster after newscaster all but accuses him of being a murderer.
The film plays on the natural assumption about the disappearance of wives that the men they marry are probably involved. It doesn’t do this as a way to mock an assumption based on years of history but to highlight presumptions and to explore how an event like this turns into a circus of accusations and gossip. Nick himself, is shown to be a liar engaging in strange behavior that does him no favors, yet he continues to maintain innocence when more evidence against him piles up.
“Gone Girl” is also a chilling, grim look at marriage and the dissolution of a relationship. The film, like the book, jumps back and forth through time to capture the beginning and the crumbling of love shared by a couple. The film is at its best when it works as an ugly allegory of marriage: lies, deceit and vengeance become a testimony to what marriage is and it would be devastating if the movie didn’t do such a great job at being devious and conniving.
Fincher is perfectly at home with this film; capturing the grimness, ugliness and craziness of the Dunne marriage. It’s a movie that continuously reveals itself throughout the film–so much so that I can’t even talk too much about the actual movie without giving something away.
Fincher’s direction is focused, attentive and perfectly suspenseful when it needs to be, while Rosamund Pike runs away with the film giving a fine performance.
In the end, I left the film wondering how I should feel and wrestling with how uncomfortable the film made me; but that’s the beauty of it: it is not neat or tidy, it is ugly and too much of an ordeal to make peace with. As a story about marriage, it takes for better or for worse to ultimate extreme limits.
“Gone Girl” opens today in theaters everywhere.