David Fincher’s work over the past decade is some of the most acclaimed in film history. He is hallmark storyteller of modern drama, modern thriller and modern themes. Personally, I don’t have enough praise for the man. He captured me with his work on Seven (1995) and The Social Network (2010). The Social Network, by all rights, sounds like a boring movie, if we are addressing what the plot actually is. However, Fincher (with the help of Aaron Sorkin) was able to turn that film into something dangerous and incredibly relevant. If he can do that to a nerd who betrays his friends, how well do you think he will fare when it comes to a wife killer and web of lies? Gone Girl is some of Fincher’s best work yet. It is long, but, my god, it takes you on scary ride.
Nick and Amy Dunne (Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike) have had to move to Nick’s hometown of Missouri, having both lost their writing jobs in New York. The pair have bought a bar with Nick’s sister Margo (Carrie Coon), and live off the earnings. Amy is less than satisfied with the surroundings, missing the culture and people of the city and begins to resent Nick, and him of her. On their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick wakes up, bids a farewell to Amy and spends some time on his own and with Margo, before returning home to his house. Amy is gone, and the living room is in shambles. Worried, Nick calls the police, and soon the whole nation is swept up in the disappearance of Amy Dunne. All is not what it seems as both Nick and police begin to investigate what has happened to Amy.
Gone Girl is one of those instants where the effect of the music is unnoticeable, until you concentrate where it is, what it’s doing and how it is doing it. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have worked with Fincher before and their work on The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2012) is exemplary. Their work on Gone Girl trumps this tenfold, helping to motion some excellent tensioned scenes and gory elements. Effectively, Reznor and Ross’ work on Gone Girl grants them Best Original Score next year. Finch may also be a big contender in his respective category, constructing a wonderfully powerful and brutal film. Using a screenplay written by original author Gillian Flynn, Fincher has complete control over this film, and every aspect oozes style and surprising beauty.
Rosamund Pike is the stand out. To dissect her performance would spoil this twisting, winding story. Let’s just leave it at: she can play a variety of roles with relative ease. Ben Affleck gets more screen time, however, and makes the most of it, providing a decent amount of intrigue and humour throughout. I was particularly fond of the work of Tyler Perry throughout the film. The man is the highest paid black actor in Hollywood and I had never seen one of his movies. He handles the role with absolute professionalism, as does Carrie Coon. I found the appreciation of lesser known actors in significant roles to be a positive step for the film. Given the time to shine was that of newcomer Emily Ratajkowski and old hat Kim Dickens.
Most will notice the extended runtime, due to the editing of the film. The denouement of this film is the cause of this stagnant pace at the 90 minute mark and is a necessary evil. Gone Girl, however, disregards this and keeps powering along. You know it is a thrilling mystery when, during quiet scenes, you can hear the audience discussing amongst themselves. Not only is Gone Girl intriguing, beautiful, brutal and thrilling, but it says a lot about the realistic strains of modern marriage, and the human condition of these participants. Bolstered by excellent performances and writing, audiences will hardly notice the 149 minute runtime.
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