Gone Girl Review

gone1Gone Girl is a Ben Affleck vehicle through and through.  This movie certainly knows how to twist and turn, I’ll give it that, but I’m not so naive as to praise it as the best thing since sliced bread.  It is interesting and the dialogue is witty and sharp, but some of it is wooden and doesn’t work.  The latter half of the movie and the ending make this movie worthwhile.  I think it ends just as it gets started, which is saying a lot for a two hour twenty-five minute movie.  The twists are not surprising and I guessed most of them easily, but I didn’t realize that those twists were being revealed to hide something else.

The beginning of this movie needs help.  The silly introduction and the first half could do with some pacing adjustments.  By the middle mark, the characters are well-developed, thanks to all the frickin time they’ve spent talking.  Rosamund Pike’s character regresses in some ways, from the more developed character she was at the beginning, to a simple psychopath.  She reminds me of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, which is a scorned woman done better.  

In some ways, Gone Girl is like an episode of Perry Mason, where they reveal the killer amongst the innocent neighbors and say that he was a killer all along.  It’s overwriting to do it that way.  Fatal Attraction does the male/female argument, sex, obsessed woman bit in a much more straightforward way, especially since the killer is a main character.

gone2The movie is well-made, well-shot and the performances are decent after it gets going.  I like David Fincher and I like the social commentary he uses in the movie.  The whole thing is a social commentary piece actually, which is probably why it wouldn’t work as another Fatal Attraction, but it just seems overwritten in parts.  To make her plot possible, Amy leaves clues, creates a series of steps for her husband to follow, fills a whole barn with electronics, and muddies, then cleans the kitchen in what must have taken hours.  I think Amy makes any obsessive compulsive look lazy.

Ben plays Nick Dunne and he thinks he’s in control, until all hell breaks loose.  Then manipulation city breaks out.  Amy manipulates him, he manipulates his mistress, the police manipulate him, and the media manipulate and take advantage of everybody.  It’s a manipulation festival.  The funny thing is, everyone tries to manipulate the media, and succeeds for the most part.  Everyone comes off like a star.  Nick is a jerk, but he tells a story and he’s a hero.  Amy is a victim, and later achieves even more fame in the media.  Five weeks after the whole thing is cleared up, the media is still sitting outside Nick’s house.  Why?

gone3The social commentary is to be commended.  David Fincher comes along and makes a thriller, with a murder mystery, and a police procedural, and makes it all work.  You’ve got to be impressed with that.  Not to mention, he throws in a critique of the media to boot.  I enjoyed the police characters in this movie, but they’re just along for the ride in this one.  Because of them, the whole first part of the movie feels much different than the last part, which has more Amy.  I was laughing at how stupid everyone was in reaction to Amy’s false face, but I think that was the reaction Fincher was going for.  She’s like an obsessive compulsive, nuerotic version of Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct.  In some ways, Rosamund Pike is better, but Fatal Attraction, Gone Girl, and Basic Instinct are all ultimately laughable. 

All in all, this is a pretty good film with some reservations.  It is DEFINATELY a Ben Affleck vehicle.  Maybe he’s building to something, who knows.  The script is overwritten in parts and a bit trashy, but that what makes it what it is.  The crowd in my theatre groaned at the ending, and I knew they were wondering why the movie ended there.  That’s it?! After all that, it ends there?! What the fudge?  I’m not sure what the crowd wanted instead, but I liked the ending.  It works just fine as a piece of David Fincher gold, however tarnished the rest of the movie is.