If you don’t glance at your watch or grow more and more anxious to check your phone during a movie, then you know you’re watching a good one. All 149 minutes of Gone Girl flew by, and yeah, it was a good one.
David Fincher once again created a beautifully paced, shot, and performed film, this time a sort of modern film noir. The story follows Nick, a man who comes home to find his wife, Amy, missing on the morning of their 5th wedding anniversary. Like any film noir, there’s a femme fatale (Amy, the Gone Girl), a pair of detectives, sexual and cynical motives, and shadows and sounds keeping viewers guessing the entire length of the film. I love a classic movie, though I know plenty of people who don’t– I think Girl would be a great way to start a reverse study of film noir, which many find initially uninteresting, or even intimidating.
Before I can say much more, let it be known that I read the book, written by Gillian Flynn, who also penned the phenomenal screenplay, at a disturbingly fast pace. I have no doubt this impacted how I perceived the film, since I knew the plot twists and was braced for when they would be revealed. Each time this happened, I looked all around the theatre wanting to see mild melt-downs, and, for better or worse, no one was flipping out as far I could tell. Maybe everyone in that screening had read the book, or maybe they were calm people who wouldn’t provide me such entertainment/insight. That being said, the shocks are still gasp-worthy in the way they are revealed, and the brutality of people’s actions is not lessened in any way, even when knowing them ahead of time. Some aspects from the book are even more scathing when acted out– for example, the ending, which didn’t really change as was previously reported when in-the-making, is so much more haunting when visible. I hated it in the book, but in the movie, I didn’t want it to end.
The casting is, almost entirely, spot-on. Shout-outs to Carrie Coon as Nick’s twin sister, Go, and Kim Dickens, who seamlessly owned Detective Boney. Ben Affleck as Nick is impeccable. Often, when an actor plays out so many emotions, at least one feels fake. Maybe, for example, when the character is angry the actor’s yelling feels unauthentic. Somehow Affleck nails every single aspect of Nick, from the charming to the sinister to the infuriated. It’s a blast to watch. I didn’t love Rosamund Pike as Amy, mostly because from the start, when she is supposed to be a desirable dream girl, it’s as if she had a massive WARNING sticker on her forehead. Regardless, she looks the part, and after the first half hour, she fits perfectly.
I could go on and on about my expectations and feelings and thoughts on this one, but to wrap it up (since you’ve checked your phone by now, right?), this film is worth seeing. There’s good and bad press out there, and if you’re curious, see it for yourself. Girl works beautifully on the big screen, and Fincher’s work deserves to be taken in that way– it’s stunning, submerging, potent. But, if you need to wait, it’ll also be fantastic to watch at home, with the doors locked, cuddled up only with someone you trust. Though Nick thought he had it pretty good with Amy…