Gone Girl – directed by David Fincher and based upon the global bestseller by Gillian Flynn – unearths the secrets at the heart of a modern marriage. On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his beautiful wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?
David Fincher’s no stranger to taking literary works and adapting them for the screen. Fight Club, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo are all outstanding films that have that special Fincher touch. But what he’s done with Gone Girl is something else entirely.
Gone Girl is being sold as a mystery, and that’s understandable – it’s the easiest way to sell the movie without giving away some of the twists and turns the film makes. But it’s so much more than just a mystery. At its core, Gone Girl is an examination of relationships, and how corrosive they can become. On the surface, Nick and Amy seem like the perfect couple. As we find out more about them, though, we see just how rotten things are in the relationship, and both Nick and Amy share the blame for the state of their marriage by the time they reach their fifth wedding anniversary.
That would be enough for most films, but Fincher and Flynn have also taken aim at the current media obsession with tragedy. They go after the media bloodlust over Amy’s disappearance and Nick’s increasing assumed guilt, even including repeated appearances from commentator Ellen Abbott (Missi Pyle as a dead ringer for Nancy Grace).
Beyond the brilliant direction and script, I have to commend the stellar casting of the film. Ben Affleck has always given off a charm that’s borderline sleazy, with a little dopiness thrown in, and that persona is used to perfection here. Rosamund Pike, meanwhile, finally breaks out after years of being a key supporting player with a role that manages to be both vicious and sympathetic. I hate making Oscar predictions this far out, but I would be shocked if Pike wasn’t nominated – she’s that good.
The inspired casting carries over to the supporting players. Neil Patrick Harris takes his character of Desi and turns him into a somehow scarier version of Barney from How I Met Your Mother. Tyler Perry is surprisingly great as Nick’s defense attorney. Carrie Coon has a natural chemistry with Affleck that makes their relationship as twins believable, while Kim Dickens is thoroughly believable as a detective doing the best job she can in a hopeless situation.
In short: Gone Girl is mesmerizing, disturbing, and marks career-best work from everyone involved. Make a point of seeing this one.