John Villarose VI
David Fincher continues his 19-year winning streak with “Gone Girl,” the hit film based on the best selling, critically acclaimed novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn. Like most Fincher films “Gone Girl” is sure to see at least a few Oscar nominations as it’s easily one of the most expertly crafted films so far this year.
This is largely due to the extraordinary screenplay written by Gillian Flynn herself.
The film centers on the unusual relationship of Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and his wife Amy Elliot-Dunne (Rosamund Pike). When Amy goes missing under odd circumstances, Nick’s awkward behavior under the constant hounding of the media puts both him and his sister Margo (Carrie Coon) under scrutiny from the police and the public. This creates a gripping mystery story that would have made for a great film on its own, but thankfully, that mystery only covers about half of the film’s plot.
Despite the frequent criticisms of Ben Affleck, there’s very little to complain about here; his natural portrayal of the “everyman” is a great fit for Dunne’s character, who tends to do whatever he can to stop himself from standing out. Rosamund Pike, who is significantly less well known than Affleck, is just as impressive, ensuring that Amy remains just as interesting as Nick. Among the supporting cast, there’s not really a poor performance to be seen, with Carrie Coon showing great compatibility with Affleck. Their interactions were always entertaining and believable. Neil Patrick Harris also surprises as Desi Collings, Amy’s rich, yet creepy, ex-boyfriend. Harris’ experience playing the typical “playboy” type is likely recognizable to the audience, adding another level to the slightly-off character.
As good as the performances were, the real reason to see “Gone Girl” is the incredible rapport between David Fincher, Gillian Flynn, and composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, most known for their work in the bands Nine Inch Nails and How To Destroy Angels. Having worked on Fincher’s films “The Social Network” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Reznor and Ross have shown their ability to create eerie Fincher-esque scores which constantly pull the viewer deeper into the mystery. Fincher’s trademark dark storytelling returns again here, casting an uneasy grimness on everyday life. However. everything Fincher, Ross and Reznor do is simply meant to support Flynn’s cleverly crafted story, which always manages to leave the viewers uncertain, while rarely giving the clear-cut answers they expect.
Those looking for a light-hearted day at the movies are better off looking elsewhere; “Gone Girl” is a two and a half-hour psychological thriller that requires the complete commitment of its audience. Despite the long run time, the film never feels as though it’s dragging on, and it never gets boring. “Gone Girl” is a must for any film fanatic, and it’s almost guaranteed that the constant quality of the film will be reflected once this year’s award season comes around.