Half-way through Fincher’s ‘Gone Girl’ you’ve just settled down in the narrative and attuned yourself to the direction and tone the movie’s taken so far. Suddenly out of nowhere, a twist in the tale, leaves you feeling like you got sucker punched and left at the crossroads not knowing your way home. The movie’s dragged you through a maze of marital disharmony and then takes it to another level all together.
The movie chooses a dual narrative to start off with going back and forth in time. One portion is narrated by Nick (Ben Affleck) and the other by his wife of five years, Amy (Rosamund Pike). Nick’s portion is set in the present, when Amy has gone missing and the entire town and it’s law enforcement agencies are trying their best to locate her. While Amy’s segment has sections from her diary narrated about her life with Nick, from their courting days to their moving to the small town of Carthage. Nick’s flawed persona and inability to show appropriate emotional responses to his wife’s disappearance turn the needle of suspicion towards him. Cryptic clues left behind by Amy before her disappearance leading to a wicked game of treasure hunt only unravel the various flaws in their relationship. However what comes after that blows the roof off.
Now the synopsis I’ve provided only touches upon the basics of the plot. There are so many layers to the story and nuances to the actions of the characters that it’s impossible to put them all down without ruining the twists that are in store for viewers. Marriage or rather the idea of it is the major casualty in this tale. The farce, the manipulation, the compromises, the lies, everything unspools out in the open like a festering wound. The idea that both partners can inflict damage to a relationship for the idea of a relationship failing or working spurred on by desires and insecurities is explored vividly through the actions of the involved partners rather than some philosophical discourse. It’s frank, vicious and darkly funny, it’ll stab you right in the heart and leave you reeling from the blow capturing every emotion you experience as you bleed out slowly.
Rosamund Pike is a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination and boy is she good, the last scene of hers will stay in your nightmares for a long time. Affleck is comfortably smug, aloof and a bit of a dick but he has little to do once Pike comes into her element. Tyler Perry as a suave attorney and Kim Dickens as a sceptical detective are solid with some of the best lines in the film. However it is Carrie Coon as Nick’s twin sister who steals every scene she’s in. I’d watch the movie again just for Pike and her. Neil Patrick Harris’s role unfortunately is underwritten and thanks to type casting he’s unable to break the mould that should have been a more vulnerable character.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s background score crawls under your skin, making your stay intriguing yet uncomfortable with the atmosphere it creates. It’s one of the biggest assets of the movie.
‘Gone Girl’ has that transcendent ability to make you think and question but the movie unravels too quickly in the second half despite an amazing twist. Pike owns the movie and if the last scene doesn’t give you goosebumps, nothing will.view less