Gone Girl (2014)

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The perfect anti-date movie that shows off what a directing genius David Fincher is. A pure example of film making in practice that is paced brilliantly, stuffed with unending tension, striking performances and unnerving doubt. I’m sure whether you’ve read the novel by Gillian Flynn or not, you’re in for a treat. The first of a film this year that’s left the audience quiet as the credits appear and now in all of ‘Gone Girl’s’ darkness I can see the exciting light of Oscar season.

Five years married are Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike). The film opens on the day of their anniversary, when Nick returns to find his wife missing and what looks like a suspicious break in leads him and police to question the worst. This film explores the days following her disappearance and digs under the image of modern married life, getting some very grimy fingernails in the process.

possible spoilers may follow, if you haven’t read the book and want to watch the film then carry on reading with caution!

It’s so clearly a Fincher film from the first five – ten minutes or so of the film. Just from the style, dark washed tone of the shots down to the way he so effortlessly and cleverly racks up tension and dread. The opening shots of Missouri and the quiet atmosphere they hold are very smart ways to work on that clear feeling of all too calm to be good feeling, and from pretty much this point onward the film never lets up that dark, twisted mood. It’s a very stylish film too and the way certain moments play out with his direction help the film down this worrying path. Fincher and his knack to make things scary, bleak or the like can be evident throughout and especially so with the multiple clued envelopes and this turned on its head anniversary treasure quest. The whole location is filled with prying people that could all be hiding things and you never know what to think, it’s such a thoughtful movie.

The film may be long, running at about 150 minutes but on the most part it never ever feels slow. Yes there are slower parts but it’s needed as it’s a very character focused narrative that works in its favour to let the people and plot breathe. There’s only a couple of moments on the flip-side of the main reveal that feel stretched but that’s no detraction from how good this film is at all. It’s a film where I believe nearly everything included feels right and necessary, it helps stir up that sensation of a dangerous relationship clawing at you as you watch the nightmare unfold.

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross who helm the music for this film are on point constantly. You can feel that murky sense as the score waves over the action on screen. It’s a grungy and very dark vibe that helps the shadowy tense core of this story really hit home. A case of such well suited music that could easily be up for an Academy Award if nothing else outstanding comes along.

This film wouldn’t be the success it is without the performances and boy oh boy is there some top casting here, everyone works in this material and I couldn’t think of one acting decision that didn’t work. Ben Affleck breaks out and shows his better acting range with a character you can’t pin on and rightly so. It’s the husband in the murdering firing line and he plays that ‘is he, isn’t he’ role really well. Tyler Perry drops the drag and provides the front running amount of comedy as a big time lawyer who helps men in predicaments like Nick. Neil Patrick Harris is a fine choice to play the possibly creepy ex-stalker of Amy and a scene involving him and her may rival Carrie White’s prom night. Carrie Coon plays Nick’s twin Margo and she’s excellent. As you see her struggle to keep on side with her brother through his trials with the police and then the turn as she lands in the frame too, you get what a committed and believable actress she is. There’s no hesitation for me to say that Rosamund Pike as Amy is sheer class. The accent is as unshakable as the concern she carries on her unflinching shoulders. I didn’t know anything about the way this story would turn prior to seeing it and that’s a blessing I feel as it’s such a damn fine twist. She is beautiful, alarming and psychotic in her thought process and Pike displays the differing mechanisms of a calculating blonde terror as if she was born for the part.

I can only think of one small, forget that, tiny problem and that is that it has a healthy amount of black humour in it which is very well done and funny but in some cases it doesn’t work and it could be gritter concerning the subject matter but that’s just me really searching hard to shine a light on criticisms.

A turning dark ride of love, hate and the extremities of a broken marriage. So worth watching, a film of the year with award worthy turns from music maestros, David Fincher and Rosamund Pike. ‘Gone Girl’ is a thrill to behold and it’s darkness is a beacon of how good a twisted story can be done.

8.5/10

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