Gone Girl

Gone Girl is the type of movie that relies so heavily on plot twists, that I really can’t say much about it without spoiling it. Of course the book was also one of the biggest bestsellers of last year so a lot of people are presumably going to know the plot going in anyway. But I will respect the conventions of not spoiling movies here.
When Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, reports to the police that his wife, Amy, played by Rosamund Pike, has gone missing on their fifth wedding anniversary, the police, in the person of Detective Rhonda Boney, played by Kim Dickens, advise him to make a plea on television for help finding Amy. The story catches on nationally and it soon becomes a media circus.
Nick’s troubles, however, multiply when it comes out that he hasn’t been completely honest with the police about the nature of his marriage. He’s not the nice, somewhat unsophisticated Midwestern boy that he appears to be. There is the matter of an affair he’s been carrying on with one of his former creative writing students. He can also get a little physical when arguing with his wife. Amy is not what she appears to be either. She has left a string of angry ex-boyfriends behind her.
Also, evidence is piling up that he may have killed her.
And that’s really all I can tell you.
The script is by Gillian Flynn, the author of the book, and she’s really good at making you sympathize with her flawed characters. And that is the theme of the story: manipulating public sympathy, so that they overlook the holes in the story you’re trying to sell them. It’s fascinating in a cynical way. This is her first screenplay and she knocks it out of the park.
David Fincher, the director, is a good fit for this dark material. He keeps the pace moving. There isn’t much in the way of fancy artifice in the cinematography. The performances are kept pretty realistic. There are no eccentric tics or scenery eating speeches here. It’s realism all the way around.
Ben Affleck is well within his range here and turns in a pretty good performance. He convincingly shows us the good and the ugly sides of this man. Rosamund Pike is terrific. I can’t tell you why but she’s great.
I wish I could write more about Gone Girl but I would certainly spoil it if I did. It’s a terrific movie, though.

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