A wife missing and a husband just creepy enough he’s suspected of doing it; the messy twists and turns of Gone Girl sound like the ideal material for masterful director, David Fincher.
When Nick (Affleck) returns home to find his coffee table smashed and wife Amy (Pike) nowhere to be found, he calls the police fearing the worst. Their life used to be perfect; the couple met at a party, they got on like a house on fire, so charming in a way you only ever see in movies. They’ve gone through redundancies, house moves, but it was all background noise to their life with each other. And now with their fifth wedding anniversary coming up and another of Amy’s famous clue hunts for Nick to find his present, moving from NYC to the country might have been a bump in the road but they made it through.
Or at least that’s the party line. As Nick struggles to keep suspicion away, a misplaced smile at a press conference sets in motion an impossible fight to prove his innocence. Secrets start to be revealed, and before long its a messy trial in the media that nobody can win.
The mystery and intrigue David Fincher is able to create in the ever-changing plot is down to two rocks that hold firm throughout the entire film. With the media circling for blood, the worry, yet bizarre confidence in Affleck’s uneasy, sleazy performance is so perfect. As the film starts to tease that all might not be what it seems, Nick’s unerring, unaltered state is perfectly off-putting.
Yet Rosamund Pike is not to be outdone. In what will likely become a career defining role for the actress, Pike turns in a fascinating performance, so powerful and yet delicately poised. Without wanting to step into spoilers, the depth Pike is able to display will see her as one of the front runners come awards season next year.
Much has been made of the decision to tweak novel’s ending for the screen but the screenplay was always in safe hands. Having original writer Gillian Flynn pen the script ensured the ethos of the creeping novel held true.
While Gone Girl has the ingredients of some of Fincher’s finest work – the twisted nature of Seven, the meticulous details of Zodiac, the intensity of Panic Room – it’s not quite up there with his very best work. The film struggles to transition between acts, particularly the quick turnover from act 1 into act 2. There is a jarring change of pace as it happens again moving into the slightly bonkers closing chapter.
A small role from the fantastic Tyler Perry disappears all too soon and some viewers will have their frustrations at the ending, but Gone Girl is more of what we’re used to from director David Fincher after his last film, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, stuttered into mediocrity.
Gone Girl is a dark and intelligent thriller that plays to Fincher’s magnetising style, the two really are a match made in heaven. While there are problems as the film moves between segments of the story, Gone Girl has so much detail, so many l ayers, it will only get better with repeat viewing. Though the brilliance of Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike’s performances might be what the film is remembered for in years to come.