Movie Review: Gone Girl [2014]

You will read a lot spoilers here

I have waited for this moment from the very first trailer of David Fincher's Gone Girl. Back that time, I had not read the book. But first look seemed interesting enough to bring me to Gillian Flynn's bestseller, I had no idea before. The Book has the most intrigue start, I've ever read:
When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. The shape of it, to  begin with"
Enough suspense to later blame Nick Dunne in disappearance of his wife, on the exact day of their 5th anniversary. But even later, Flynn gives a lot reasons to believe that a good wife, amazing Amy, loving woman became a victim of unfaithful husband. And you will partly be true. The most brilliant thing about Gillian's book is that she never hints about Nick actually killing Amy, there is no direct indication of that, but she just makes a bad guy out of him, a guy anybody would hate and blame for anything and she makes you believe that he is the cold blooded killer. This is exactly what Gone Girl is about, among many other things.

It was a wise decision that Gillian herself adopted it as a screenplay, because she was the only one who could fully capture the suspense, characters and story behind the lines. She basically brought everything to the screen, tiny details, all important dialogues and presented characters as she wrote couple of years ago. Because of this precise adaptation we first meet husband and get him fully known, thinking that he is an asshole, cheater and Amy Elliott-Dunne - a smart, beautiful, charming, interesting wife. Definitely a good one. And then we start exploring Amy's character, step by step and the truth just opens up to shock us. 
Film gives a lot to think about, but most importantly how false can things be in life, even marriage, how people can destroy you for "nothing" and how important job media does in it. It's a worst nightmare of so called American Dream: a perfect girl, a perfect boy = perfect life! But no. "what are you thinking? How are you feeling? What have we done to each other" -  these are questions marriage is all about, just understanding and learning each other. Because if anyone thinks that people stay the same after they sign some formal papers, they are wrong - just like main characters. They both thought they married persons of their dreams: Nick was the one who "saved" Amy and Amy was a sweet, loving wife. When time passes, and because "marriage is hard work", they expose true selves and marriage stops working. And when marriage stops working, Nick makes mistakes and Amy decides that he shall not be excused. She decides to rebuild a husband she married to, the perfect man for her, the one she can control, who would admire Amazing Amy and make him feel important.

Both lead characters are perfectly written. Nick is more like average Joe. A bit more interesting. He is a guy who loved her wife for who she pretended to be. And yes, I think Amy was different in the beginning and as relationship got deeper, he started to look beyond the surface of wife's character. He did not like it and never tried to make it work. Just went out and enjoyed the first twat he met. While Amy behaves differently - she prepares a lesson for husband, to make him perfect again, because Amy Elliott-Dunne is not one of those who lose.

A lot has been told about misogyny in Gone Girl. Are you fucking kidding me, people? This is a movie, and a book, with probably the strongest female character and it's nothing but any feminist dream come true. Amy is the woman who had controlled any man in her life, who has won any battle against people who thought she was just another Cool Girl. She is smart, strong, unbeatable, capable of manipulating her husband the way she wants. The movie itself criticizes misogyny in society for victimizing women and envisioning Amy as someone who needed to be protected. I think that Gillian wrote one of the most memorable and solid women in fictional movie/book history. 
The question you may ask yourself is "who is the bad guy?". There is one definite answer, BOTH. Nick and Amy, both are bad, for different reasons. Nick is because he is a cheater, disgraceful person, who has no guts to make marriage work and instead blames wife, exchanges her for younger twat. While Amy prepares the most shocking revenge. After all, no one deserves to be convicted for the murder s/he did not commit. But in the end, they turn out to be the most fucked-up couple ever. Perfect match. Even that Ben's character is thinking of divorce, I believe they are going to live "happily ever after", because they are the couple. And sometimes, even bad people live "happily ever after".

Flynn also changed the ending in film. I think it tells technically the same story. But I kind of preferred book where Nick tells Amy:
... I feel sorry for you... because every morning you have to wake up and be you
It hinted some important things: first, that they finally decided to be themselves and most probably, Nick would spent the rest of his life with Amy - and it means that she wins, forever. The movie ending, makes it a little more vague.

Gone Girl is a joint masterful work of both Gillian Flynn and director David Fincher. While first made a mesmerizing adaptation, second brought whole package to the screen. When someone talks of outstanding directing, most people imagine something like Gravity or Life of Pie, where director faces a lot technical challenge. But the hardest work is to bring something that mysterious and creepy as perfectly as David did. I believe he exactly saw what the writer wanted to say and how she wanted to say that. Most of book readers wanted to know how they would screen Amy's diary entry about The Cool Girls. And you know? Fincher nailed it. Amy passing these all kind of girls and being full of hate was one of the best parts of film. 

Among other things, Gone Girl has some brilliant cinematography. Camera captures some brilliant shots, which are equally creepy as the story itself. Scene of Nick Dunne and the cat with background of camera flashes blew my mind. It helps to imagine him as a killer and as a bad guy. There are so many scenes, where camera angles can tell the whole story, you should just see it. 

Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor once again created brilliant score. The music plays huge part here and their creepy soundtrack, especially in the beginning and end, sell spirit of the movie. Each scene has very carefully chosen music, matching with dialogues, it keeps you ears entertained but focused on the plot. 
This film would not be anything without two brilliant lead performances. Most importantly, Rosamund Pike. She delivers performance of her career. I can not imagine anyone being so perfect portraying such complex, weird, creepy, sociopath intelligent woman, who turns out to be the strongest. Rosamund literally disappears in her character, nailing every scene, from smiles to witty dialogues. Her voice makes it all pure enjoyment. It even caused goosebumps in me. Terrifying. That's why I believe Pike is the best actress this year. Sorry all overdue veterans, but she deserves all awards. No doubt.

And Ben Affleck, so widely hates as an actor, is also brilliant. I know these fake smiles are almost natural, the reason he got this part, but still, he absolutely sells Nick's character. 

The rest of cast is as good as it can be. Tyler Perry nails as an attorney of Mr. Dunne and I also loved Neil Patrick Harries as Desi. Good job casting director for bringing Emily Ratajkowski as Nick's young lover Andie. She's wonderful despite very few screen time.

Gone Girl is definitely the best film of the year, so far. It has all it need: brilliant story and adaptation, masterful directing and mind-capturing acting. Absolutely enjoyable piece of work.  

2 comments:

  1. I actually think the movie's ending showed Nick being trapped better - there is no defiance in him unlike in the book where he said that line to Amy. The book ending was scarier - because you just know Amy will punish Nick for saying that.

    I don't think it's feminist dream to control a man :) But I agree the claims of misogyny regarding this story are ludicrous.

    So glad you liked the movie and Ros' performance!

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  2. Agree that the book ending was scarier, that's why I preferred it. But I think in both cases he's trapped and he will never be able to leave Amy.

    I meant the strong female character as a "feminist dream", not controlling men. I don't have that unhealthy understanding of feminism :)



    Yeah, I will never understand the misogyny claims. They are just childish and stupid.


    And yeah, Rosamund was absolutely perfect. She's my favorite, for now and I doubt many can top her this year.

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