Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gone Girl

Year: 2014
Director: David Fincher
Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Carrie Coon, Tyler Perry, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, Neil Patrick Harris

Plot: When a man's wife disappears, the resulting media reaction turns his life upside down and he suddenly becomes a suspect. But there is more to it than meets the eye.

Review: This film reminded me of a repeated line from Hugh Laurie's Dr House: Everybody lies.

But to David Fincher's credit, Gone Girl is a lot more than a mystery and more than just about people lying. Based on Gillian Flynn's novel which she also adapted for the screen here, Gone Girl shows how the power of media and public perception can play a key role in determining if someone is innocent or guilty. Basically speaking, if it looks bad, it's gonna be bad, and vice versa.

The story begins with Nick Dunne, who comes home one day and finds his wife missing, with signs of a struggle in his living room. The police check it out, and upon further investigation, they and the audience discover that Nick isn't a stand up guy that we're supposed to believe. Then halfway through, Fincher and Flynn throw a twist into the story and changes the status quo. It gets more twisted as more facts are revealed, and that's all part of the appeal.

Fincher wisely keeps the story moving and making every scene count, so that despite its 149 minute running time, you don't feel it dragging. The music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross gives an unsettling feel throughout (another wise choice by Fincher for using them again) and Donald Graham Burt's production design adds to it with its dark and mostly dim lighting in every scene. 

Ben Affleck puts in a subdued but effective performance as Nick, whom we suspect isn't as good as we'd like to believe, but eventually sympathise with. Rosamund Pike is perfect as the missing wife Amy, who seems like the perfect woman, but is holding a ton of secrets of her own. Pike isn't the best actress there is out there, but her acting style is actually perfect for the role she got here, and deserves plenty of credit for it. The supporting cast are also solid, with Carrie Coon as Nick's twin sister Margo, Neil Patrick Harris as Amy's former lover, Tyler Perry as Nick's lawyer and Kim Dickens as Detective Boney all putting in sterling work.

Now, despite its near flawless storytelling, Fincher once again moves a tad too fast at times, switching from one scene to the next quickly or not allowing a scene to stay a few seconds longer for dramatic impact. He did this before in The Social Network, Zodiac and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, though to be fair, it's less noticeable here. And without giving anything away, I felt that the biggest lie in this whole story isn't as perfect as the filmmakers would have you believe. It can be explained if someone looked much closer.

That being said, Gone Girl is still undeniably a solid film all around. Back to what I said above: everybody lies. Here, we ask ourselves: how good are they at lying? Recommended. (8/10)

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