It almost feels like a cliche’ that every time I see a new David Fincher film it immediately jumps to one of my favorite movies of the year. This year will be no exception. I walked into ‘Gone Girl’ angry, impatient, and with a massive headache from nearly 3 hours of dealing with horrible traffic. I walked out with quite the shit eating grin on my face and an urge to talk about every brilliant nuance that the film had to offer. Sadly, I have to stay quiet about most of this film, but I can still tell you that it is bat shit crazy brilliant and the best film so far this year!
Many of you will have already read the novel before you see this movie. For those of you that have, I clearly don’t need to explain anything to you. For those of you that have little knowledge of this story, you are in for a real treat. This is a film that has been so well advertised and is so well put together that I would feel like a total asshole just to give away the truth behind certain character traits. Luckily, neither of our lead characters here are particularly truthful and the audience doesn’t really know what’s going on until about the half way point.
Man, I really wish I could tell you about what’s happens around half way through this movie, but it would ruin a surprise that I quite cherished and the filmmakers have done a brilliant job keeping under wraps. Luckily, this entire film is so good that getting to discuss any of it is good fun. So, the thing that is clear from the very beginning is that Nick and Amy Dunne do not have the best marriage. Within the first five minutes of the running time, Nick (played fantastically by Ben Affleck) is unhappy with the tradition of their anniversary. So, he sees his sister at his bar in the morning before going back home. When he gets home he finds a broken glass coffee table and Amy missing.
Nick calls the police to investigate her disappearance and an entire can of worms is opened up that Nick might never have expected. That is, if Nick did not kill his wife, of course. Nick lies so often in this film that as things begin to unravel the audience cannot be sure whether to trust him. Yet, Amy (played by an award worthy Rosamund Pike) is just as untrustworthy and her diary segments begin to paint a frightening picture of Nick that we cannot be sure is true. That search for the truth among lies is one of the extremely interesting themes that the movie explores with great depth.
Another of those wonderfully explored themes is that of marriage and how little married couples really know about one another. After Nick is questioned by the police it becomes abundantly clear that he has not been keeping up to snuff with his wife’s routine or current interests. He has no idea who her current friends are, what she does during the day, or her blood type (although I don’t know my wife’s blood type either). The real kicker comes at the half way point when we discover more about Amy and then it’s almost like he never really knew her to begin with. I’d really like to see how different I view the film a second time, now that I know these characters secrets.
I also really loved the way that the film dealt with the medias coverage of murder and missing persons cases. It’s ridiculous the way that idiots like Nancy Grace pyschoanalize people and judge them based on the stupidest things. In this film, the Nancy Grace look alike judges Nick for smiling in a picture and for appearing in a selfie that some lady took. Not surprisingly, Nick asked for that lady to delete the photo right after she took it (knowing it would be poorly viewed) and the woman refused. Nick may be a bit of a dirtbag at times, but half the crap he gets judged for in this movie is completely ludicrous. Yet, it’s eery how close it is to exactly what happens every single week to some new schmuck.
That’s what makes this movie such a brilliant piece of work. It is not only an excellent thriller (that will keep you constantly guessing), but it’s also a social commentary on everything that is involved with missing persons and how quickly you can go from victim to murderer in the eyes of public that loves to stand in judgement. Brilliant performances (even Tyler Perry is really good), perfect editing, great lighting, and expert direction all come together to create an unforgettable experience. So, if you want to see a movie this weekend then this is the one. Nothing else even comes close.