Certainly the best thriller I’ve seen in a while, David Fincher’s Gone Girl is a rare treat that’s not to be missed. What’s more, after it’s premiere at the New York Film Festival on the 26th September, UK audiences get to welcome an exciting new release over its honeymoon period – the same audience that had to wait four months for Twelve Years a Slave – likewise it’s quids in for a far off Best Picture nomination.
On his fifth anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) goes home to find a smashed coffee table and his wife missing. Soon a media circus looms around the missing and lovable Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) and her awkward introverted husband becomes the ‘most hated man in America’.
Gillian Flynn’s 2012 novel makes use of unreliable narrators and dual narratives something that is brought to the film aptly, rather than in the bloated fashion of Midnight’s Children. Both Flynn and Fincher seem to have taken tricks from their TV work, Utopia and House of Cards respectively, as the film piles on twists and plots in an enjoyable miniseries fashion. Yet what makes it truly unique is its ability to join this with classic noir/thriller characters: the cynic, the femme fatale, the good cop and a guardian angel, and reinventing itself half way through in a nostalgic Chinatown style. Frequent collaborators with Fincher, Trent Renzor and Atticus Ross, provide a neat soundtrack to ramp up the suspense.
Gone Girl is less evidential as it is character based, quickly provoking an Internet reaction over the gender roles in the film. The music rises as Amy becomes darker and both husband and wife learn to manipulate one another. Peaking in a moment of comedy, him calling her a ‘fucking bitch’ once he’s caught up. Gone Girl is also darkly comic.
Next to an exceptional script and direction it’s probably fair to say there are no real Oscar winners in the cast – not to be mean, the strength of the ensemble is perhaps at the expense of them as individuals. Closest comes Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck obviously, if it weren’t previously a book, I’d assume Amy was written with Pike in mind, so effortlessly she plays it and I’d imagine will be deservedly nominated in the same vein as George Clooney was for The Descendants. Also worth a mention is Kim Dickens (best known for Hollow Man) who is excellent as the detective investigating Amy’s disappearance and Missi Pyle as a love-to-hate right-wing newscaster.
A whole 142 minutes-long, Gone Girl takes on the challenge of fulfilling a lot of people’s expectations, of the book and David Fincher, I’d say it exceeds them by some way.