Let me start by assuring you that at one point I had an almost finished review of the film version of Gone Girl left here on my computer one night before going to bed the day I saw the film in theaters. When I woke up, I no longer had a review, but instead a freshly restarted computer that needed to update. No autosave of the review. No Megan being intelligent and actually saving her review. Just Megan leaving the computer to do what she expected it to do – leave the beautiful, intelligent review in place for when she came home from work the next day and finalized her words.
Damn you, Microsoft. But I digress.
Directed by David Fincher and starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as America’s sweethearts Nick and Amy Dunne, Gone Girl looks about as stylish and well-filmed as you’ve come to expect from Fincher. While not as dark and disturbing as Se7en, Gone Girl is up there on the same level of his filmmaking ability, and the same plane of thought. And being adapted by the author herself, Gillian Flynn, the results are as true to the novel as you could possibly get. The same plot points are there, albeit condensed to fit the two hour and a half movie. And the structure is there, twist and all, so don’t be worried that too much has been changed.
The acting really was what blew me away. Although I don’t think either Affleck or Pike will win Oscars/Golden Globes this year (Pike, alas, has to go up against the juggernaut that is Julianne Moore – but I’m fairly certain she’ll get some noms – and Best Actor seems like a fairly well stacked lineup this year featuring Michael Keaton and Benedict Cucumberpatch… I mean Benedict Cumberbatch), both of them had very good performances playing their respectively smarmy and sneaky characters. Even the background characters are well portrayed, especially secondary character Margo Dunne, Nick’s twin sister who hates Amy and is apparently way too close to her brother for her sister-in-law – and the media’s – liking.
Just like in the book, the twists are unfolded and revealed at just the right time and at just the right pace. The method of Amy’s diary entries are told expertly in my opinion, and it was probably my favorite part. The voice-over and flashbacks pulled me in and refused to let me go. The movie moves along so quickly at an expert pace that by the time you know it, you’ve been sitting there almost three hours (with previews) and you don’t know where the time went. It’s the type of movie where you’re jarred while you stand up, forcing you to turn to your film companion to digest what you’ve just seen, and then home to the internet to process the unraveling of a relationship into a caustic partnership of lies, blood, and hatred.
Beyond the relationship aspects, you have the second level of the movie, and just as engrossing. The media coverage, the cameras and televisions and the barrage of reporters, add societal commentary, particularly Nancy Grace’s clone Ellen Abbott, a man-hating, bouffant-wearing sharp-teeth blonde news anchor who goes out of her way to peg Nick as a wife-killer and to ruin his life.
My only problem with the movie, though, is that if you read the book, Gone Girl the movie might not have the same punch for you. It’s a great movie, don’t get me wrong, and a movie I would suggest to anyone with a strong stomach for blood and trauma, but if you’ve read the book, you won’t get the same punch with the twists and turns. I loved the movie, but the book dampened that love, and it didn’t give it the same punch.
But hey, Gone Girl the movie is a good way to spend a night at the theater. Definitely check it out.