Few creators inspire enough confidence to blindly elicit consumption of their latest output. David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en) is one. In the age of instant gratification, it’s difficult to keep anything secret. Gone Girl, thanks to the smartly constructed trailers, manages to avoid even hinting at anything beyond the initial plot. Though spoiler free, I implore you, watch the movie before reading this, or any other review. The varying twists and turns demand to be experienced first hand. Don’t ruin this for yourself.
The trailers for Gone Girl painted a simplistic picture that was too obvious to be taken at face value. The themes, which are many, couldn’t be accurately displayed in a brief two minute vintage. At a 150 minute run time, every moment is needed to portray the complex, seemingly nameless emotions that plague many today. This is a movie about abuse, anger, fear mongering, volatile public opinion, propaganda, false faces, vague implicating statements, manipulation, baseless accusations, and most of all, loneliness. The Missing Amazing Amy is only the first act of three very different movies. While a few of these themes are constant throughout, taking on various forms, each part focused on a different one, illuminating aspects all too hauntingly true.
Abuse, sadly, is too difficult prove. The anger that comes from it often changes a person, and is weaponized against them by the public who doesn’t understand. Occam’s razor indeed. Of all the elements portrayed, abuse is at the core; how it makes a person feel trapped, alone, and above all, angry. While the varying themes are readily shown, the abusive subtext is carefully hidden throughout, and will likely be missed by many. It’s this subtext that shows the mastery of not only the writing, but the direction and the performance to camouflage something so volatile beneath its surface.
Public opinion, fueled by propaganda, speculation, ratings grabs, and half spun truths, is equally on display. Globalized mob mentality is an ugly truth of the communication as we’ve become a culture that publicly grieves, scrutinizes and embarks on witch-hunts at the drop of a hat. Gone Girl shows not only the unchecked power that comes from this, but the stranglehold it has on people’s lives.
The nuances, both subtle and overt, are only achieved due to the impeccable writing and expert performances. The experience would have failed if not for leads Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Afflek embodied the perfect balance of affability, egotism and smugness to make his character, Nick Dunne, seem equally credible and culpable. Pike appeared to give a bland performance, with her monotone breathy voice initially somewhat off-putting, that ultimately proved to purposeful, making her nearly unreadable. Tyler Perry was unrecognizable as Tanner Bolt, as was Carrie Coon (The Leftovers) as Nick’s twin, Margo. Actress Missi Pyle’s Nancy Grace knockoff Ellen Abbott was superb with her vapidness and general lack of empathy as well.
Gone Girl deserves to be discussed and dissected, not for it’s flaws, of which there are none, but the mirror it casts on modern society. Fincher, writer Gillian Flynn and the cast captured the essence of the book in a way that will live on for years.
What element stuck with you the most? Is this Fincher’s best? Comment below.
This will definitely stick with me.