Movie Review: Gone Girl (2014)

Posted: October 19, 2014 in Drama
Tags: , ,

gone girl movie

When Nick Dunne (Ben AffflecK) meets Amy Oliver (Rosamund Pike) at a New York City party, the attraction is instantaneous.   She is smart, witty, and beautiful.  Nick is handsome, and funny in his own right.  Amy is the successful writer of the Amazing Amy series of books, and has a trust fund.  Nick writes for a men’s magazine, the future looks golden for both of them.  They get married, it starts out well, but in five years, the magic is gone. Amy is wring quizzes for a women’s magazine Nick is unemployed, the trust fund money is gone, and they have moved from New York City to Missouri to care for Nick’s mom, who later dies of cancer.  Nick opens a bar with his sister Margo  (Carrie Coon) the bar is losing money.  On their fifth anniversary, Amy disappears.  Nick is immediately suspected, but did he actually kill Amy?

I did not like the book, and I do not like the movie Gone Girl. There’s a reveal in both book and movie, and after the reveal both book and movie grind to a slow, agonizing halt.  It’s supposed to be an indictment of the reality show, feeding frenzy court tv mentality every time there is a murder of the century.  But this is more a parody of the American realty tv culture than it is a serious indictment.  There are many clichés in this movie, I won’t bother to name them, but even the characters fall into cliché territory.  The Tanner Bolt character is Johnnie Cochran, the Ellen Abbott character is Nancy Grace.  The tone of the story is inconsistent, is it a suspense movie, or is it a dark comedy?  What I like least about this story is that it savages both lead characters, if neither character is sympathetic, the viewer stops caring about either of them, and that’s exactly what happened here. I will lay all the plot flaws at the feet of author and screenwriter Gillian Flynn, who created a carbon copy of her book with the screenplay. A better, more satirical version of this movie is called To Die For, with Nicole Kidman.  Watch that instead.

The acting is not bad.  I don’t like Ben Affleck, when Tyler Perry, playing his lawyer, gave him a direction not to be so wooden, it is ironically funny.  But Ben uses what I dislike about him most, the glib, smug, pretty boy to good effect here to play a pretty despicable character.  Rosamund Pike is very good at maintaining a cool and calm exterior while constantly thinking to stay one step of the collapsing situation around her. She makes her character almost believable, and that is saying something.  Tyler Perry also does a pretty good job of playing a cartoonish character.  Neil Patrick Harris does not fare as well playing Desi Collings another poorly written character.

Part of the responsibility of the poor quality of the film resides with the director David Fincher.  Fincher has directed some really good films, like the Social Network and the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but this is not an epic story, and does not require a 2 ½ hour running time. Fincher could have easily edited the running time by a half hour or 45 minutes and not lost the essence of the story, but he did not, and so the story drags.

Fincher also gave the film a dark look trying to make it feel more sinister, but maybe because of the gallows humor or because I knew the story from the book, the movie never felt sinister to me.

Gone Girl:  Girl Gone Wild.

Here’s my review of the book:



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