Anyone who pays attention to cinematic buzz knows that there’s a decent amount of attention being focused on director David Fincher’s latest effort, Gone Girl. Based on the book and screenplay by Gillian Flynn, the movie is about a man whose wife goes missing. That’s pretty much all I can tell you because if there’s one thing that’s preeminently clear upon exiting the theater, it’s that you can’t comfortably talk about the events with anyone other than those who already saw the movie or read the book.
Not having read the book, and staying away from trailers as I normally attempt to do, I can say that the twists and turns weren’t the same formula we’ve all become used to but it’s not so much that the plot progression is so unpredictable for those who enjoy murder mysteries. The really refreshing aspect of the proceedings are the multi-faceted characters Flynn presents, most of whom are not purely good, evil, smart, or dumb. As the events unfold, layers to the central characters are revealed and it’s the development of these characters that drive the movie forward more so than any singular event.
Across the board, the actors do an excellent job. Of course, that starts with
Batman Ben Affleck. As the focus of the investigation into the disappearance of his wife (Rosamund Pike), so much of the movie relies on the audience being invested in his character’s actions. His performance isn’t revelatory but its solid and believable. The big surprise of the two leads is Pike. I’ve not been so kind to her acting in the past but whether it’s the other actors, the director, the script, or a combination of all three, this is her finest role by far. She delivers a wide range of emotions, all with the appropriate shading commensurate with each scene.
To no surprise, pretty much every department involved in the production got things right. The obvious standout of the filmmaking process for the movie is the cinematography. Fincher and long-time cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth deliver another superbly shot effort. Everything is framed beautifully, lit nicely, and presents the story with a consistent and measured tone.
Back with Fincher again are his unsung heroes, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who deliver another fantastic score. It’s not as flashy or catchy as some of their work on past Fincher movies like The Social Network or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but it’s moody and atmospheric as one might expect from the pair and it perfectly compliments the movie. With that said, hopefully their efforts won’t be forgotten come the end of the year as there’s often more thought that goes into being subtle than there is to being loud and brash.
There’s really only one element to it all that falls a bit short and it’s the length of the movie. At two and a half hours, it’s nice that I saw the movie in comfortable surroundings. Had it been an older theater with less comfy seating, my posterior could have become a bit sore. And it’s not that there are scenes here that could easily be cut in order to tell the surprisingly expansive story. However, the film suffers a very small bit from multiple ending syndrome. While I will say that I absolutely love the point at which the credits roll, there were two or three other moments prior to that which I could likely equally admire.
Cinephiles will surely be flocking to theaters to check out Gone Girl and I don’t blame them one bit. Fincher did a great job in helming this film and while I didn’t find myself personally invested to a great degree, I had no problems admiring the quality and talent on display. In a year of unspectacular fare, this shoots towards the head of the class for now.
Gone Girl is rated R for a scene of bloody violence, some strong sexual content/nudity, and language.
– Reviewed by Ian Forbes
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