"What are you thinking? What are you feeling? What have we done to each other? What will we do?"
David Fincher has exceeded my high expectations once again with this brilliant thriller starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. I have so many things to say about Gone Girl that I simply don't know where to begin. First of all, anyone who loves movies knows how stylish Fincher's films are and how meticulous he is with each project. He creates interesting characters and he knows how to set the right mood for his films. In Gone Girl he does just that creating a tense and moody thriller which all of a sudden switches gears on us with unexpected twists and genre shifts. In one moment you are watching a suspenseful thriller and then all of a sudden you find yourself laughing at the dark humor presented in the story with each new dark revelation. It is a unique experience for the audience and I enjoyed every second of its 150 minute runtime. It is very close to being another masterpiece from Fincher, although Se7en and Fight Club still remain my favorite from his rich filmography. Bringing back his usual collaborators for the musical score, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, also played a key role in the success of this film which helped improve the mood to an already suspenseful and eerie atmosphere. Jeff Croneweth's cinematography also stands out in Gone Girl making every shot gorgeous to look at. The film is also perfectly edited, but that is something I will mention in the next paragraph when I credit the narrative structure of the movie. Fincher doesn't disappoint for one second and treats the audience to a wickedly entertaining film with several disturbing ideas exploring new grounds with the thriller genre. It is a must see for all film lovers out there.
I've given David Fincher a lot of credit for his work because he is one of the most talented directors in Hollywood right now, but I also have to give praise to Gillian Flynn's wonderful screenplay adaptation of her own novel because it is outstanding. A lot of the success this film is receiving is due to the wonderful narrative structure Gone Girl has. The way it is presented in non-linear fashion is beautifully paced together. The first half of this film begins like your ordinary forensic mystery investigation where you try to guess what may have happened or what motives were behind the disappearance of the female lead character. As the investigation goes on, we get flashbacks narrated by this missing person where she explains how she met her husband and how everything unravelled after those first few years of marriage where everything seemed perfect. The less you know about this film before going into it, the more you are surprised by it. I am glad I hadn't read the novel before because it was a pleasure to experience how the narrative structure of the film unfolded before me with every twist and shift of tone. Flynn has written a crazy novel which plays out as a satire and a social commentary on marriage and the effect the media has on public perception. It is a story about perceptions and how we put on masks to pretend we are something we aren't in front of others. It has a few things to say about marriage and how couples try to change each other or pretend to be something they aren't in order to win the other's affection. As you watch Gone Girl you can't help but imagine how much fun Fincher and Flynn were having as they dissected some common problems couples have in marriage. Of course everything is overblown in this satire and you will find yourself laughing at several of the situations presented (especially in the second half of the film), but it does have an underlying message and a purpose. I thought it was quite a witty commentary on marriage and society, and for that I have to give Flynn credit for the wonderful story she has written, and of course Fincher takes advantage of that and creates a stylized and fun trashy film that is beautifully shot and edited.
When you go into a Fincher film you know you will get great performances out of him because he brings the best out of his actors. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike are superb in the lead roles. He is perfect as this enigmatic husband who is lacking empathy in the publics eyes. Pike gives an icy and memorable performance as her character is hard to decipher at first and our perception of her shifts as the movie moves on. She is simply great. As much as I enjoyed the lead performances, I have to say that what really surprised me here were the secondary actors. Who would have thought that Tyler Perry could have pulled off his role as the charismatic lawyer so well. He has several funny scenes and he was a great addition. My favorite performance in this film came from Carrie Coon (who I really like in The Leftovers series) who plays Affleck's twin sister. She had some strong dramatic scenes and had great on screen chemistry with Affleck. I hope she receives a nomination for her role here because she absolutely pulled it off. Kim Dickens who plays the detective in charge of the investigation was also great. These were all interesting characters who played key roles in the success of this moody thriller. Many people complained about Neil Patrick Harris's performance, but I think the main issue I had with him wasn't his performance, but his character. There are also some over the top violent scenes that didn't work too well, but for a satire Fincher pulls it off just fine because he knows that this is an exaggerated pulpy film and lets the audience have fun with it. Gone Girl was one of my most anticipated films for 2014, and after watching it I have to say it exceeded my expectations; I had a crazy fun time with it and it deserves all the praise it's getting.