David Fincher’s Gone Girl (2014) tells the story of married couple Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike). What starts off as a budding romance quickly transforms into a missings person and murder investigation, with Nick as the prime suspect. Everyone has their own opinion about the case, but no one really knows for sure what is true. Did Nick murder his wife? Was Amy fearful for her life before her disappearance? What was her mental state and was someone else involved? Through the investigation, a story of deception, media murder-worship and secrets about how well you can truly know another human being emerge.
The material is perfect David Fincher. With enough moodiness, suspense, mystery and current national headline recognition, his style of filmmaking serves the story very well, and the film justly fits into his cannon of similar films, right alongside Seven (1995), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), Fight Club (1999) and Zodiac (2007). While this is classic Fincher, it would be nice to see him branch out a little bit in future projects, some of his directorial styles and nuances becoming a bit been-there, seen-that. Even Alfred Hitchcock dabbled in the occasional comedic film while staying true to his style, and it would be nice if Fincher, will all of his talents, did the same at some point.
While Gone Girl has several dramatic twists and turns throughout, nothing is entirely unpredictable. I always had some inkling of what was going to happen next, and I got the sense that it was trying to be smarter than it actually was. Ben Affleck, though not a bad choice for the role of Nick, could have been better cast. His shifting emotions and dodging ability for the viewer to latch on to his character may have been better suited to a different actor.
Rosamund Pike as Amy, on the other hand, steals the show. Whether the viewer is fearful for her, intrigued by her actions or horrified at the lengths she goes throughout the narrative, she is relatable and believable, overshadowing the rest of the cast to the film’s betterment or detriment.
Nitpicking, without going into the surprises throughout, the narrative changes from mystery to suspense to domestic drama, and it is hard to pin down exactly how to read the film with so many genre changes. And clocking in at over two hours, the length feels for the viewer. Also holding the film back however is a sensational ending that makes the film less believable and more melodramatic.
All in all, I was on the edge of my seat for most of the story even as I suspected the various plot points. The action and intrigue are strong, as are Rosamund Pike and the direction of David Fincher. The film is a just a good film though, instead of a great film, so if the viewer keeps this in mind, they will likely not be disappointed.