Guns’ Guide to Movies: Gone Girl

“Was it good?!”

That was a text I got from a friend after I saw Gone Girl last night. I had no idea how to respond. After a bit of thinking, I settled on this:

“That does not even begin to describe it.”

This is a true statement.

Gone Girl tells the story of Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck, with his noticeably beefed up Batman build) and the sudden disappearance of his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike, sharper and more brilliant than you’ve ever seen her). Nick and Amy are perfect. A beautiful couple who recently relocated from New York to small town Missouri. It’s their fifth anniversary and after a trip to the beach for some solitude and a visit to the bar that he and his twin sister, Margo (Carrie Coon), own, Nick returns home to find his wife missing and an unusual crime scene. The only sign of struggle is a shattered glass table in the living room and some specks of blood in the kitchen. The police strike up an investigation. Nick calls Amy’s parent’s in from New York. And a press conference is held.

The first portion of the film switches constantly between the present ongoing search for Amy, and flashbacks in the form of entries in Amy’s journal. The entries tell a sad story of a couple who fell head over heels in love. Which then proceeded to crumble into resentment and anger.

via screenrant.com

via screenrant.com

As the police investigate further and further into the disappearance, Nick seems to know less and less. They ask about Amy’s friends, what she does at home all day, her blood type and Nick does not know the answers to any of these questions. He doesn’t seem to know much of anything. Is he hiding something?

I don’t think I’ve ever had a more physical reaction to a film. Every moment elicited a reaction from me because it was timed out and executed so perfectly. David Fincher is a master of the plot twist. He proved it with Fight Club by giving us the unexpected. But in Gone Girl, he gave us the truth.

The entirety of Gone Girl is an epic quest for truth. Not only the truth about Amy’s disappearance, but the truth about Nick and Amy themselves.

Who are they?

The early flashbacks to when they first met and their first date read like a bad romantic comedy. Nick is so cookie-cutter golden boy. And Amy is the New York brownstone-dwelling trust fund baby with a less than ideal relationship with her parents. They’re like those people in the photos that come with picture frames when you buy them. It’s almost sickening how perfectly one dimensional they are. But as the film progresses, we learn that our characters are far more complex and calculating than we could have ever imagined.

October, of course, is the real start of what is known as Oscar season, and we definitely have some serious contenders in this cast. Obviously, both Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike deserve best actor and actress nominations for their roles, but I am far more excited to see some nominations for the supporting actors in Gone Girl. Neil Patrick Harris as Amy’s obsessive ex-boyfriend Desi is perfectly played with just an air of subtle creepiness while never extinguishing the idea that he is utterly entranced by Amy and is unable to let go. Tyler Perry’s portrayal of Nick’s slick defense lawyer Tanner Bolt is basically Billy Flynn from the musical Chicago revamped for a gritty drama. He focuses Nick on winning the public’s trust and working on his likability. As you’re watching the film, you cannot help but think that Tanner Bolt is around 30% script and direction, and 70% Tyler Perry. And there is nothing wrong with that. If there is no best supporting actor nomination for Tyler Perry at the 2014 Academy Awards, I will consider it a personal insult.

Writing a review of Gone Girl is so difficult because so much of it can’t be discussed for fear of ruining the film. It is almost impossible to properly explain my love of this film because the best parts are specifically the parts I refuse to ruin because they are so amazing. You can see the vicious circle I’m getting myself into.

The bottom line is, Gone Girl is truly a milestone in David Fincher’s directing career. He takes you through twists and turns you never expected to be on.

I spent several scenes practically convulsing in my seat as if my body were trying to come up with some sort of rational physical reaction to what I was watching. Some might call Gone Girl Fincher’s best film yet. I might agree.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Gone Girl is now in theaters.

  • James

    Social Network is his best film. You forgot to mention the fade out multiple moments the movie could have ended but didn’t.

  • Beef

    I think you were spot on with this review. My wife and I went to this on Friday. I’m a HUGE fan of Se7en, which is also a David Fincher film, so I had a pretty good feeling going in. I was not disappointed.