Gone Girl (2014)
It’s October. Summer blockbuster season has ended, and Oscar bait season has started. We decided to kick things off with the current hot movie, Gone Girl.
Gone Girl follows Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) as he tries to find out what happened to his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) after she disappeared while he was out on their anniversary. On the surface, Nick and Amy seemed like a perfect couple. As people start investigating Amy’s disappearance, details of Nick’s and Amy’s marriage come out pointing to a less-than-ideal reality.
What got me going to Gone Girl was, despite not having read the book, I know David Fincher has an excellent track record with his movies, such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I know he can extract great performances out of his actors, and I love his visual flair. While Fincher generally tends to be more understated than the likes of Wong Kar-Wai, his shots still look beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a random, Midwestern town look appealing in any other movie.
Despite having starred in no less than two trainwrecks in 2003, Daredevil and Gigli, Ben Affleck always was a good actor. Fincher really got a good performance out of Ben Affleck. I was a bit surprised at the casting of Neil Patrick Harris as an ex-boyfriend of Amy’s, namely because Harris is primarily a comedian. Despite that, Harris was completely capable as an obsessed (possibly unstable) former flame. Largely due to the acting, Gone Girl is a movie that felt very real to me.
Beyond that, Gone Girl was as much an excellent commentary as it was a mystery. It isn’t long before Nick is the prime suspect in Amy’s disappearance. The media does its fair share in distorting Nick’s image, and the public alternates between loving and hating Nick in response. I’m surprised the effects of online social media wasn’t explored; I can totally see #findAmy trending on Twitter and people sharing links to articles written by “experts” that are obviously slanted to agree with the poster’s opinion on Facebook. Does anyone remember the escalation of the Israel-Gaza conflict? The movie also had its fair share of product placement. That detective really, really loved her Dunkin Donuts coffee and made sure we knew it. At least the plugs for Apple products were more subtle than they were in that other movie I saw this year based on a novel.
In general, Gone Girl ultimately was an allegory. It does the ultimate bait and switch at one point, and Gone Girl was probably the most challenging movie I’ve seen in a while. In fact, I would go as far as to say it is easily one of the best movies I have seen this year, somewhere in between The Lego Movie and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Gone Girl also proved that a movie isn’t necessarily going to be terrible as soon as Oprah’s sideshow Tyler Perry is in it, though that often is the case.