David Fincher’s ‘Gone Girl’ ★★★★★
‘I picture opening her skull, unspooling her brain and sifting through it’
DAVID FINCHER delivers yet another meticulously crafted, thrilling film that satisfies all of the sadistic whims of a thrill seeking, twist loving, modern audience.
Based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, this isn’t just another ‘wife goes missing husband gets accused’ type of film. Although the latter is the lead line that the production company has run with, Gone Girl cannot just be categorised into such a simple plot line. It is complex, it is shocking, it is utterly brilliant.
Fincher presents the modern marriage in a bleak and terrifying way. Marriage is seen as an inevitable, ironic and gradual breakdown, both mentally and physically. The opening line to the film perfectly captures the rocky marital life that Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike are to have – the severe breakdown of communication between the couple prompts the extremely vivid and incriminating opening line spoken by Affleck: “I picture opening her skull, unspooling her brain and sifting through it, trying to catch and pin down her thoughts. What are you thinking, Amy?” Suspect number one is instantly established. But David Fincher would never choose to do an adaptation of a book if there weren’t twists and turns in it.
Fight Club, Seven, Zodiac, even The Social Network have all established Fincher and his style of film; Gone Girl satisfies this criteria, and exceeds it. Fincher doesn’t force the film’s suspense upon the audience, but lets it occur as naturally as possible. A surreal problem is presented in a very real way as each scene leaves the audience feeling extremely unnerved, tense, stressed yet left completely buzzing for more. This is achieved through Fincher’s clever cuts at climactic points, as the long droning music gets louder and louder in a tense scene and then suddenly stops.
The film addresses many topical concerns of a modern audience in a typically Fincher style – great suspense framed within melancholic, dark and mysterious scenes. Media, politics, the justice system and marriage all seem to take precedence over the actual problem – a missing person’s case and a possible murder case. Tyler Perry as a successful lawyer protecting a presumed guilty husband is something that the world has seen time and time again – guilty men getting off lightly through a powerful, persuasive lawyer. Missi Pyle plays a provocative, assumptuous, factually manipulative reporter – extremely topical in the trending videos of certain US news channels. However, Rosamund Pike steals the show in her portrayal of an alluring yet critically flawed wife. We see her mostly in flashbacks, showing her character, Amy’s, marriage to Ben Affleck’s character, Nick. As the flashbacks progress, so too does her character, as Rosamund Pike transforms from attractive and seemingly perfect, to a completely imperfect and fearful wife.
The film subverts the commonly held view that sexual violence and manipulation only occurs to women. However, the overarching theme that permeates throughout the film is not man versus woman, nor is it to legitimise the concerns of those against marriage; instead the film poses the terrifying question: how well do we truly know our loved ones?
What starts as a relatively standard storyline is transformed into a cinematic, edge-of-the-seat epic as with all films that David Fincher has directed. A comparable film could be seen to be Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners, however, Fincher’s film is far too complex and unique to have a true comparison. The best advice we can give is to urge people to see this movie – it is the epitome of a mysterious, dramatic film, directed by the don of thrillers.
Disclaimer: newly engaged/wed couples might want to think twice about watching this film…David Fincher himself even noted how the film will “break up millions of marriages”.