David Fincher has been an exceptionally adept auteur in weaving sinister stories for the big screen. From Seven, to Fight Club, to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Fincher revels in the dark side of human nature. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn's wickedly twisting and disturbing novel could have found no better hands. It doesn't quite reach the brilliance of Fincher's best work, but is a damn good film. If you haven't read the novel, you're doing a disservice to yourself by reading any spoilers for this film. This is an utterly spoiler free review.
Gone Girl begins in a sleepy Missouri suburb on the fifth wedding anniversary of Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy (Rosamund Pike) Dunne. Nick, somewhat dejected, goes to the bar he owns with his sister, Margo (Carrie Coon) to have a drink. He gets a call from a watchful neighbor that his front door is open. He races back home to find Amy missing and the living room in disarray, clear signs of a struggle. Nick calls the police and Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) responds with her partner (Patrick Fugit). Rhonda immediately sees blood spatter on the walls and puts the police on full alert for the missing Amy. Over the next few days, the search for Amy leads to a firestorm of media coverage. As Nick struggles under the microscopic glare of the spotlight, Rhonda uncovers clues that Nick and Amy's idyllic suburban life may have been a complete charade. And that all the evidence points to Nick being responsible for Amy's disappearance.
Gone Girl is a devilish mystery, driving by characters whose intent are slowly revealed. It asks the question, how well do you know someone? Can you live with someone for years and not have any clue who they are, or what they're really doing. Nick and Amy are the fairy tale couple. They're beautiful, successful, the picture of happiness. But the veneer has many cracks. Gone Girl is the exploration of the cracks. It's a film that opens a window into the depths of the human psyche and how far people can be from an image so skillfully presented.
Fincher's trademark style permeates every frame of Gone Girl. From the Nine Inch Nails synthesizer fueled score, to the gloomy cinematography, the entire story is washed in dread and foreboding. The acting ensemble is very good, particularly Rosamund Pike as Amy. Pike, another excellent British actress, has had a long and relatively successful film career. Her stature among American audiences is about to skyrocket. Gone Girl is a star-making performance for Pike. I wouldn't be surprised if she snags a few nominations come award season.
Gone Girl has that repeat viewing quality. There's always something missed that pops up when I watch Fincher's films again. A colleague remarked to me that Gone Girl was almost a black comedy as opposed to a thriller. That's an interesting take, I don't agree with that view, but can see where one can draw that conclusion. Gone Girl is the kind of film that people will discuss for hours. That's probably the best compliment I can give.