Culture, Film

Review: Gone Girl (2014)


Gone Girl movie posterThe superior thriller of 2014, Gone Girl is a dark, twisty, psychological study of the worst seven-year itch imaginable. Abduction, sex, murder and revenge; trial-by-media and satire on America’s dark heart, this one has it all.

Gone Girl will have you on the edge of your seat for the first hour, until the biggest plot turn of the decade hits you for six; then it’s a tense white-water ride into a twisting canyon in which every scene threatens disaster for the lead characters.

Add career-defining performances from Ben Affleck (Armageddon, The Town) and Rosamund Pike (Jack Reacher, The World’s End) to a script that is impossible to second guess, and Gone Girl is a genuine must-see.

On the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, Missouri hometown boy Nick Dunne (Affleck) comes home to discover his smart, sassy New Yorker wife Amy (Pike) missing. The circumstances are suspicious, his reaction incongruous. The police view him as suspect number one. As Nick launches an immediate missing persons appeal, the story interleaves their sparky romance, Nick’s own investigation, and flashback’s from Amy’s side of the relationship; nothing is what it seems from Nick’s mystery second cell-phone to Amy’s anniversary treasure hunt.

Is smart Nick Dunne really the dumb putz he seems to the police and the media? And is pressured, golden-girl ‘Amazing Amy’ really the fictional construct of her controlling mother’s children’s books?

To give anything more away would spoil the plot massively, and this is definitely a script you need to approach blind for maximum effect.

It’s been years since Affleck did anything this complex, whilst Pike is a revelation as the challenging career-girl-turned-housewife. Ably supported by Neil Patrick Harris as Amy’s ex, Kim Dickens as the North Carthage detective, and Lisa Banes as Amy’s chilly controlling mother, special mentions must go to Carrie Coon as Margo, Dunne’s loyal twin sister, and Tyler Perry as the flashy, Johnnie Cochrane-style defense lawyer.

Under David Fincher’s tight direction (The Social Network, Fight Club, Zodiac), Gone Girl hits every note that Prisoners failed to find. Filled with secrets, lies, subtle and not-so-subtle betrayals, this is a neo-noir thriller in a class of it’s own. Although there may be plot holes, you’ll be hard pressed to find them in Gillian Flynn’s own adapted script from her best-selling 2012 novel, rich material for performances immaculately constructed out of defining strengths and fatal flaws. Recommended. RC

Gone Girl (2014)
Director:David Fincher
Writer: Gillian Flynn
Running time: 2 hr. 25 min.
Certification: R (for a scene of bloody violence, some strong sexual content/nudity, and language)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense , Drama
Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, David Clennon, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Lisa Banes, Missi Pyle, Emily Ratajkowski,
Casey Wilson, Lola Kirke, Robert Boyd Holbrook, Sela Ward

Related: State of Play

About Robin Catling

Writer; performer; project manager; sports coach; all-round eccentric.

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