Possible spoilers ahead!
I should start by mentioning I have not read the book, so I don’t know if the movie sticks close to the source material or not. But am I pretty sure I’m in the minority when it comes to how I felt about the movie.
Anywho, “Gone Girl” is a well-directed and beautifully shot thriller that features an epic performance by Rosamund Pike.
Unfortunately “Gone Girl” is also a film that shifts emphasis, plots and perspectives so many times that you may feel like you’re watching seven or eight short films instead of one cohesive movie. Or as the lady sitting behind us put it after the movie:
“Well that was stupid. I’m sorry, but that was the most stupid movie I’ve seen.”
I don’t think I’d go as far as saying “Gone Girl” is the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Mostly because the one thing I did like in the movie was Rosamund Pike’s performance as Amy Dunne. At first, “Gone Girl” tells the story of Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) who might or might not have killed his wife Amy (played by Pike). The problem is he is so closed off and alienating that even his sister can’t help wondering if he killed Amy.
To everyone, Amy and Nick seemed like a happy couple. The stories from Amy’s diary, read in voice-over by Amy and accompanied by flashbacks, hint at differences between the two, but nothing that hinted that either one could be a murderer. But now thanks to Amy’s diary, the couple’s dirty little secrets are coming to light. So can we trust what Nick tells the homicide detectives played by Kim Dickens and Patrick Fugit?
The film raises a ton of questions about the couple’s relationship. Who is to blame? When did they go wrong? Could any of this have been prevented? These questions and others, are answered eventually, often in violent over the top moments that leave you scratching your head.
“Gone Girl” is like those “R”-rated thrillers that were everywhere in the late ’80s and early ’90s (think “Fatal Attraction” and “Basic Instinct”). And like most of those films from back then, “Gone Girl” is dependent upon reversals of expectations and point-of-views. As soon as you get a handle on what is going on, it becomes something else entirely, But quite frankly, there too many twists and turns.
The only thing that saves this movie are the performances by the cast. Even Tyler Perry as lawyer Tanner Bolt was a welcome sight. I’m not a Perry fan, but his character brought some much needed light humor to the film. Shame he wasn’t in the entire movie.
Kim Dickens was also outstanding as the lead detective. It was refreshing to see a cop work the case until she was sure she had enough evidence to arrest Nick Dunne. Even though most of the police force wanted him arrested from day one.
Ben Affleck had a tough task of playing a sympathetic figure and a hated one at the same time. But the dude pulled it off. Affleck has definitely improved as an actor over the last few years. If he brings just a little bit of what he did here to the Batman role, I think the Dark Knight will be okay.
But the person who deserves an Oscar nomination is Rosamund Pike. Screw the nomination, she should win the Oscar. Whenever she was onscreen you could not take your eyes off her. Pike saved what would otherwise have been a disaster of a movie.The best work of her career without a doubt.
In the end, “Gone Girl” tries desperately hard to be as good as “Basic Instinct” or “Se7en,” but it falls short. This movie closer to “What Lies Beneath” than anything else. But if there is an award for the number of plot twists in a single movie, then “Gone Girl” is the champ.
“Gone Girl” final score: 6.5