SEPTEMBER 18, 2014

GONE GIRL (2014)

To me, David Fincher is one of the best, if not the best filmmakers working today. All (yes, ALL!) his films have something to offer and are made with exacting attention to detail that’s its hard not to applaud his efforts. Not his greatest work to date (That goes to SE7EN and FIGHT CLUB), GONE GIRL is a masterful thriller that succeeds in so many ways where many of its ilk fail. 

Based on the best-selling book by Gillian Flynn who also wrote the film’s screenplay, GONE GIRL concerns itself with the eroding marriage of Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike). 

On the morning of their 5th anniversary, Amy goes missing and clues at the scene point to an assault. But there’s no body. Nick is more than happy to help the police investigate because he knows he’s done nothing wrong and has nothing to hide. 

But as the investigation continues and the days stack up, he’s looking less like the grieving husband and more like the prime suspect. To make matters worse the court of public opinion has begun to weigh in and most find Nick’s demeanor questionable. Friends become enemies and by the time the truth starts to come out, Nick could be looking at the death penalty. 

Fincher unfurls the story slowly, allowing us into the heads of the protagonists but like the master craftsman that he is, we begin to question the reliability of these narrators. It seems everyone harbors deep-rooted secrets and after awhile it’s hard to know who to trust. 

The casting is excellent from top to bottom. Ben Affleck is perfect casting as if this was tailor made for him given his on-again/off-again love affair with the movie going public. I have always enjoyed Affleck as an actor and I could never understand the ire he caused people over the years. He certainly has distinguished himself as a great Director as well. 

The rest of the cast includes Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Dickens, Casey Wilson, Sela Ward, Carrie Coon and Tyler Perry. For me Perry was the biggest revelation. I have been very dismissive of him in the past, but he absolutely shines as Nick Dunne’s celebrity Defense lawyer. It’s an award worthy performance and has made me rethink my opinion of him. 

If I were to lodge any complaint about GONE GIRL it would be that it seems rather conventional given Fincher’s other work. But it’s hard to criticize a film that works so well and delivers on the premise. Fincher has become a worthy successor of Alfred Hitchcock and continues to create thrillers that rise above the rest and leave a lasting impression.