Movie Review: Gone Girl

Well, this is going to be a tough one. How do you review a film properly after it blows your mind beyond belief? How do you list a film's flaws, when you're still hung up on how it ended? Well, if that's what I'm here for, then I might as well try.

Gone Girl, based on the 2012 best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn, is yet another dark, edgy, and mind-churning thriller by director David Fincher. Spawning films from Fight Club to The Social Network, Fincher is a master of complex thrillers that make you think. Now, with Gone Girl, Fincher expertly breaks apart this tale of dishonesty, conflicted marriage, and love's darkest sins, as he brings Flynn's work to life. With a leading cast that shines bright in the darkness, and a brooding score that accompanies an even darker story of love and murder, Gone Girl again brings out Fincher's excellent direction, along with expanding Gillian Flynn's vivid tale of domestic marriage, and the sins that may follow.

We all have our sins, we all have our wrongs, but what does that truly mean to the one you love? Deeply examining the effects of dishonesty, economic troubles, and unfaithfulness on marriage, Gone Girl breaks the defining barrier of a couple's love for each other, and picks apart the very strands that hold it together. Doing so, this offers the perfect gateway into excellent cinema, giving the audience a mind-bending tale of deceit and dishonesty to eat up with a side of thrilling conspiracy. With author Gillian Flynn also writing the screenplay for the film, her calculated story of a conflicted man and wife translates ever so well to the big screen. Mix that with David Fincher's dark, methodical direction, and you've got yourself a great thriller. Back to analyzing marriage's hidden sins, with its many lies and secrets, Fincher does excellently in portraying today's domestic marriage. While we all have our sins, and our wrong-doings, the film displays how, if they're hidden well, marriage can appear perfect. However, if a couple's honesty and loyalty are conflicted and revealed, it can lead to disaster. Fincher, with the great help of Flynn, manages to bring this to light, as both characters, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), hide their individual sins. Doing so, the results are not glorious for the marriage, but for the film's audience, it works wonders. While I may not be a marriage expert, let alone know anything about relationships, I can easily see how Flynn's characters' love for each other dissolves as quickly as an Alka-Seltzer in water, breaking apart every bond that held it together, and leaving behind nothing but distant remnants of a past once known.

Fueled by underlining stress and eventual hate for all things dealing with marriage, the cast is lead by Ben Affleck, who plays seemingly loving husband Nick Dunne. Conflicted by his wife's disappearance, and pursued by both hungry media on the outside and barking sins within, Nick has a lot on his plate. Add the fact that he's being accused of his own wife's murder, and you've got a man who's on the edge of his own sanity. Portraying a brooding husband with his own list of wrong-doings, Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne near perfectly. While I may not have read the book, I know Affleck owns the role, just by the way he acts. Having dove deep into his role, researching famous husbands of missing wives, and applying his past exemplary works into this new one, Affleck performs greatly as a man with hidden sins dripping down his spine, waiting to be revealed. Affleck, who has played many roles from the unnoticed to the award-winning, has become one of those great hidden treasures, as he performs amazing performances in the few roles he does. From Good Will Hunting to Pearl Harbor, Affleck has proven himself as a great actor in some of his best roles. However, doubling as actor and director in such films as Argo and The Town, Affleck manages to astonish his audiences even further, as he expands his horizon. As an award-winning actor, and a master of dark, serious roles, Ben Affleck was a great choice for Gone Girl, as he brought in his own brooding nature, but also added some comedy to it.   

The remaining cast is also quite memorable. With low-key actress Rosamund Pike taking on the role of Amy Dunne, she surprises the audience with an anything-but-dead performance. Basically the glue of the story, Amy Dunne pieces the broken tale together through flashbacks, as she spins everyone involved in the search for her into a whirlwind of jaw-dropping twists and turns. By the end of the film, it's apparent that Pike knows how to make a role her own, and also knows how to creep the hell out of you. Through her methodical diary entries, her twisted mind bent on revenge, and her unique creepy tone of voice, Pike definitely defines herself as the lead girl gone (crazy) in Gone Girl. With the ever-eccentric Tyler Perry as Nick's trusty attorney, Neil Patrick Harris as Amy's creepy ex-boyfriend, and a few opinionated cops here and there, the supporting cast is both unique and familiar. While they may not stand out as much as the leads do, they do know how to deliver some decent performances.

The score of the film truly brings out its inner darkness, unleashing a methodical string of brooding sounds that pace the story greatly. Just as they did in both Fincher's works, The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross provide a haunting score for Gone Girl, adding to the immense tone of the film. Mixing soothing sounds, almost like waves crashing on the beach, with staccato electronic noises, the musical duo manages to create an almost scary, nerve-racking sound to accompany this tale of broken promises and brooding lies. As I always say, especially in terms of composer Hans Zimmer's work, a film is nothing without its music...and in terms of Gone Girl, you can bet that still holds true.

With Gone Girl, another great thriller has pulled me into its methodical grasp. As the 2014 year showed us some decent thrillers (The Equalizer, The Signal, Snowpiercer), and some lackluster ones (Three Days to Kill, Transcendence, Non-Stop), no mystery/thriller film had held my complete interest...until now. Much like last year's thrillers Prisoners and Captain Phillips did, Gone Girl held me from the first time I watched the trailer. Hinting towards a mind-bending journey through the minds of a married couple, Gone Girl had me hooked from the very first time I heard Rosamund Pike's eerie voice say "The man may kill me." Since then, I haven't found anything to stop me from seeing the film, my love for great thrillers taking over. In the end, the film exceeded my expectations, and delivered a great tale of twists and turns to enjoy.

Overall, this film was near perfect, blending top-notch actors with an immense story that hits hard on real-life topics of domestic violence and the hardships of marriage. With a great cast, a haunting score that plays well with the dark tale, and an array of twists to keep you guessing, Gone Girl is the thriller to see this Fall, with a bag full of popcorn and a jaw ready to be dropped at every great surprise.

I gave this film an 8 out of 10, for its great storytelling, its plot full of scary twists that the audience will love, and its amazing cast, lead by the crazy-good Rosamund Pike and the complex cool-guy Ben Affleck, who'll make an excellent Batman in 2016's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

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