Movie Reviews

'Gone Girl': Delightfully twisted

By Zaki JufriMovies - 08 October 2014 12:00 AM

'Gone Girl': Delightfully twisted

Gone Girl trailer

Our Rating

4/5 Stars

No one does moral rot like David Fincher.

From ‘Seven’, ‘Fight Club’ and ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ to ‘House of Cards’, the 52-year-old director’s penchant for twisted malevolence and the diabolical has won him legions of rabid fans, and he is not stopping. 

Criss-crossing from noir thrillers to magic-realism, no other director has translated the misgivings of the human condition on celluloid with such panache as David Fincher. 

'Gone Girl' is yet another fine piece of crafty pulp fiction from the director.

A PERFECT PAIRING

 

Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike plays Nick and Amy Dunne in 'Gone Girl'

Fincher’s 10th feature film marks a milestone in his directorial career and it is a good reason to celebrate: ‘Gone Girl’, based on a novel by Gillian Flynn, represents the perfect pairing of filmmaker and source material. 

Flynn’s novel of the same name, published 2012, has been polarising readers with its disturbing portrayal of a relationship gone wrong. 

While 2011’s ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ by Fincher is a superfluous exercise in style, ‘Gone Girl’ reaffirms Fincher as a master of his craft.

The movie is a whodunit murder mystery at its core, but it also casts the spotlight on marriage and sex, which takes a nasty beating, on going through trial by media, and on how we are driven by fear and desire.

Sticking closely to Flynn’s intricate plot and its Pandora’s Box-ful of surprises, Fincher employs his distinctive visual style and dark humour to draw us into the dark and damaged world of couple Nick and Amy Dunne.

A SURPRISINGLY, STRAIGHTFORWARD FINCHER FILM

‘Gone Girl’ opens on the morning of the Dunnes’ fifth wedding anniversary and their marriage has reached an impasse.

Nick (Ben Affleck) wants out, but when he returns to their home to discuss this with Amy (Rosamund Pike), she's gone and there are signs of a struggle.

Nick calls in the police, and Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) launches an investigation.

It's a high-profile case, too, because Amy is better known to the general public as Amazing Amy, the lead character in a series of children's books written by her parents, and as soon as word gets out, the media descends on the small Missouri town where their home is, turning Nick's world upside-down. 

Things, obviously, are not what they seem at first (classic Fincher misdirection at work here) and part of the fun is slowly peeling the layers of police inquiries, diary entries and love stories before you hear the penny dropping, and you go, “hey, wait a minute…” 

Narratively, this is perhaps one of Fincher’s most straightforward stories, but what makes it compelling is the transfer of the novel’s structure onto the big screen.

By doing so, perspectives constantly shift as the “he said” in present-day is juxtaposed against the opposing “she said” flashbacks that retell the couple’s earlier and happier days. 

STRONG PERFORMANCES BY CAST

Rosamund Pike delivers a career-defining performance 

Affleck and Pike deliver strong yet opposite turns.

No one does arrogance quite like Affleck, so it is up his alley as he plays a tempestous, failed journalist who relies on that boyish grin of his to get through life.

Often criticised for being too smug on screen in real-life, Affleck and his aloofness are just what the script requires. 

Casting Pike as Amy is a masterstroke. As the title suggests, the movie truly belongs to its leading lady. The British actress is brilliant in capturing the character’s duplicity and fear.

It is thrilling to watch Pike’s intense charisma fill the screen – from her seductive, love-struck beginnings to being the calculating and aggrieved wife. Her character requires her to stretch her acting range and she completely nails it.

The supporting cast also lends weight to give great performances, such as Nick’s protective twin sister Margot (Carrie Coon), neighbour Noelle Hawthorne (Casey Wilson), and Amy’s creepy ex-beau Desi Collings (Neil Patrick Harris).

A nice surprise and a performance that really stood out among the lot is Tyler Perry’s media-savvy lawyer Tanner Bolt, who exudes quiet confidence.  

Flynn’s story has sparked numerous debates about its apparent misogyny and this movie might fuel them even more.

But apart from the commentary on marital politics, ‘Gone Girl’ is fun to watch. It is the kind of movie where there are no heroes or villains, a movie where you don’t know where your loyalties lie until the end credits kick in.

‘Gone Girl’ opens in cinemas 9 October 2014

Movie Photos

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Gone Girl
  • Gone Girl

    (2014)
  • Rated
    R21 /
    Genre
    Drama, Thriller
  • Language
    Eng
  • (3 Reviews)