Saturday, October 4, 2014

Gone Girl

Plot: Nick (Ben Affleck) comes home and his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) is missing, and there are signs of a fight. He calls the police and they search the town. Nick comes under suspicion. After this, there are big twists that are too much fun to give away.  [imdb]    [photos]

Review: Gone Girl has a long, long wind up to excruciating and clever conclusion. It starts like a murder mystery and ends as twisted psychological thriller. The end is super fun:  four stars.

Just like the book, the ending is creepy and tense and wonderful. Both Nick and Amy are sociopaths bound by that common thread. Both characters were trapped by their actions and the tension between them was so great. 

I loved the performances of Affleck and Pike. Affleck sold his contrite confession on TV seeming more sincere then confessionals seem in real life. Pike manages a range of emotions, but she is best when she is the driven, smart Amy -- the super-competent Amy. Even though real women aren't like that all the time, she was so good at it that she sells it.

Writer Gillian Flynn brings the tension from the book right to the screen. Even though there are some logic gaps -- the plot twists hold together pretty well.

There is a level where Gone Girl is an allegory for a real marriage -- where two high damaged people stay together by mutual manipulation. The end makes more sense when viewed that way. The end makes sense poetically more than realistically.

More in the spoiler section below.

Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Carrie Coon

Directed by: David Fincher

Written by:  Gillian Flynn, based on her novel of the same name.

Rating: 4.0 stars: This is what movies should be like. 

More:   The TV reporting plays a major role in the movie, that the book did not need. They become one of the motivating forces in the story. It reminds me of the Hunger Games book in how the media culture can motivate a new kind of evil. 

More with SPOILERS: The two big twists are so jarring even though I had read the book. I was swept along by the dynamic of the movie  Because we had begun to believe that Nick really had done it, when see Amy alive, suddenly we see everything that we thought was wrong.  It happens again when Amy kills Desi (Neal Patrick Harris) and a third time when she drives up to her house in front of the camera crews, and it is just as surprising when Nick gives her a hug on the sidewalk.

The strength of the story is that Amy is a great villain -- she is smart and works endlessly hard on her plan -- then she carries them out -- with a pretty smile.