David Fincher, a name that rings with quality, a name that causes an excitement and most of all, a name that builds momentum and expectations. Well, Fincher, best known for directing some of the most stylistic, thrilling, edge of your seat films in the past two decades returns with one of his best, Gone Girl, an adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel, which became a runaway success last year throughout the world. Since Fincher’s last theatrical outing in 2011 with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (also an adaptation), he has worked on the small screen, namely on House of Cards, the show which has ultimately helped Netflix change the face of television (and where it can be watched). But now he returns and it is oh so good.
Gone Girl on the surface is the story of a man who is accused of killing his wife; he becomes subject to ridicule and suspicion by those in his community, by the press and by every person he encounters all the while demanding that he is innocent. On the surface, Gone Girl is the story of a marriage, the story of a lot of marriages, something that couples all around the world can relate to. Ben Affleck (in possibly his most successful role of his career) plays Nick Dunne, a man whose entire life is consumed by a media circus that circles and engulfs him after his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike in an Oscar worthy performance) goes missing. Amy, is the subject of the ‘Amazing Amy’ books that her parents made a mountain of money writing; her story has captured the imaginations of men and women around American, not only because her childhood became the story that people all over admired but because she represents the lowly housewife that became downtrodden by the man in her life and people can relate to her.
One day, Amy goes missing and Nick comes home to find a scene that no one wants to find – it looks as if someone has broken in. There is a smashed table, the couples items all over the floor, obviously thrown in a rage and blood across the wall. Worst of all, there is no Amy. Nick does as any normal person would, informs the police and aids in their investigation to help find his amazing wife. But of course, Nick quickly learns all is not as it seems and over time, the charity and helpfulness of the people around him turn to disgust as he becomes the number one suspect in not only his wife’s disappearance but also in her murder.
The investigation continues, whilst Nick along with his sister, Margo (Carrie Coon) follow their own leads to try and figure out what happened to Amy. Together with Nick’s new media savvy lawyer, Tanner Bolt (a brilliant Tyler Perry), they find out things about Amy that Nick didn’t even realise was possible. Like the book, Fincher’s film (which Flynn wrote the screenplay for) flicks between the present investigation and token moments from Amy’s diary detailing how the couple met, their first few years together and then the drama, the arguments and the hatred they feel for one another later into their marriage. She notes that she has become afraid of her husband, she thinks this man is going to kill her.
There is no use continuing to explain the story without giving it away, this story has twists that ultimately are unmissable, gasp worthy and wholly entertaining.
Fincher has created with Gone Girl, the most exciting and thrilling film of the year – carefully treating the fine line between Hitchcockian thriller, Kubrick’s killer humour and the intensity and stylishness that audiences have come to expect of Fincher’s work. The way he carefully unveils the story as it goes along keeps the audience gripped; working alongside Flynn, the structure of the story is such that it slowly pieces together in front of the audiences eye, without really giving too many red herrings about where it is going. It reveals itself and comes together, making the audience laugh nervously that they didn’t see it all along. The intenseness of the storytelling provokes the audience throughout; mixing together yet another perfect soundtrack provided by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (after the pair worked with Fincher on Dragon Tattoo and The Social Network), with beautiful, striking colours on screen that scream out to the audience and powerful performances from the whole cast.
In particular though is Rosamund Pike’s performance as Amy Dunne, a woman who has no where to turn to so she learns to take matters into her own hands. Pike’s performance, as mentioned above, is Oscar worthy – she has taken a character and moulded her in a way that is so unique and memorable, it would take a long time to forget it. Taking the emotional distress of the character and turning it on its head, she doesn’t become the belittled woman who cries in the corner but takes control and fucks everything up for everyone.
For those who have read the book, it doesn’t matter – this film peels the story back in a similar way and yet it still feels fresh and frankly fabulous. Gone Girl is a success in every way; Flynn’s mind has brought an incredibly powerful story about women, about relationships and about the world around us and Fincher has taken her characters and words, and embodied them in a way that will go down in cinema history.