Friday, September 26, 2014

“Gone Girl”–Movie Review



Tonight, I attended the opening of The New York Film Festival for a screening of the world premiere of “Gone Girl”, a mystery starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike and directed by David Fincher.


When a man’s wife goes missing, a search for her becomes a nationwide news story – but when public opinion of him goes from a sympathetic husband to murder suspect, will he be able to prove his innocence?


On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick (Affleck) discovers his wife Amy (Pike) is suddenly missing.  Upon immediately reporting this to the police, a thorough investigation takes place; in order to get the word out in the hope that someone may be able to help find Amy, the police have Nick do extensive publicity about the case.  Soon, he becomes something of a media darling with many people around his home state of Missouri – and eventually, around the nation – feeling sorry for him once they learn of his plight. 

Under the scrutiny of intense media glare, Nick’s heroic mantle gradually erodes when certain facts about him and his marriage become known.  Is Nick keeping secrets from everyone?  Does he know more about Amy’s disappearance than he’s letting on?  Slowly, the tide of public opinion begins to turn against him and in the middle of trying to learn the whereabouts of his wife, Nick now finds himself put on the defensive thanks to the very same media that made him a star.  This causes the police to have their own doubts as well as they steadily uncover various forms of evidence that don’t exactly make Nick look as innocent as he wishes everyone to believe he is. 

Drowning in bad publicity and increasingly becoming the focal point of the police investigation, Nick winds up having to hire a very famous and expensive attorney to defend him.  However, with a seemingly non-stop barrage of tawdry personal information about Nick becoming yet more fodder for an ever-hungry public, the lawyer is finding his job increasingly challenging.  When the police eventually gather enough evidence to arrest Nick, things look particularly ominous.  But when he learns of some new information that may clear his name, will he be able to prove he’s not a murderer? 


This year’s New York Film Festival really got off to an incredible start with “Gone Girl”, a motion picture I highly recommend you see in the theater as soon as possible – especially if you’ve got a significant other (and oh, the discussion that will follow!).  If you’re not in a serious relationship, you should probably see it anyway – and after viewing it, be thankful that you’re not married.  Although Affleck is the star of this movie, it’s actually Rosamund Pike who steals the show from him; her portrayal of Amy will likely and deservedly set her career on an entirely new and spectacular trajectory.  As far as director David Fincher is concerned, he may very well have made a valid argument to support the assertion that he’s this generation’s Alfred Hitchcock. 

“Gone Girl” takes the audience on quite a wild ride; it’s wicked, twisted and ultimately also very funny.  Novelist Gillian Flynn did an excellent job of adapting her book into this screenplay – something which is rarely an easy task for any author.  What should also not be overlooked is the soundtrack by Trent Reznor; his music sets an intensely ominous mood in many scenes.  There is very little in “Gone Girl” to find fault with; along with its commentary about the state of present-day romantic relationships, it also drives home the point about how we as a society are quick to unquestioningly gobble up anything the news media decides to tell us. 

As much as it is a relationship movie, it’s also yet another story about how the economic recession of recent years ruined the lives of many Americans, as this is what set into motion much of the action that follows.  Ultimately and unsurprisingly, Fincher reminds us that while we may think of ourselves as being heroes in the movie that is our life, we may also simultaneously be villains in the movie that is someone else’s life.  Who is the hero and who is the villain in “Gone Girl”?  That’s a very interesting question and one that may be difficult – if not impossible – to answer.  It’s something you’re going to have to figure out for yourself – and that’s much of the fun in “Gone Girl”.   


Gone Girl (2014) on IMDb

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