Part dark comedy, part murder mystery lifted by Pike's performance
By Murtaza Ali
Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews
Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews
|Gone Girl (2014) - By David Fincher|
Our Rating: 7.5
IMDb Ratings: 8.5Genre: Drama | Mystery | Thriller
Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris
Runtime: 149 min
Summary: With his wife's disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it's suspected that he may not be innocent.
Gone Girl is the latest offering from the famed American filmmaker David Fincher. Based on a 2012 bestselling novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn (who has also written the screenplay), Gone Girl stars Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck in the lead roles. The movie also stars Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Dickens, and Carrie Coon. Part dark comedy, part murder mystery, Gone Girl harks back to some of Fincher’s earlier films like Se7en, The Game, and Zodiac. Gone Girl revolves around a Missouri man whose wife's dramatic disappearance on the day of their fifth marriage anniversary makes him an object of intense media and public scrutiny, and, with each passing moment, his intentions become increasingly questionable. On the face of it, Gone Girl comes across as a typical crime mystery-cum-thriller that involves search for a missing person, but, in essence, it’s a satire on: the lack of fidelity in modern marriages, the ever increasing influence of media on public opinion and how it invariably curbs personal privacy, and the drastic impact of economic changes on the quality of human relationships.
While Gone Girl shows a lot of promise to begin with, it loses its way in the middle of the second act, which almost seems like a comedy of errors. But, just when it seems to be getting lost in a vacuum of sorts, a shocking turn of events in the third act, vintage Fincher, sets it right, once and for all. Fincher is a master of mood especially when it comes to depicting the darker shades of things. In Gone Girl, he once again creates that ominous mood (making good use of Flynn's powerful material at hand while adding a few deft touches of his own) right from the onset only to dilute it with a tinge of dark humor—a somewhat strange concoction for a Fincher film, but one that’s quite palatable nonetheless. We are presented with motley of duplicitous characters: vindictive wives, cheating husbands, prying neighbors, opportunistic parents, manipulative sisters, delinquent teenagers, obsessive paramours, shyster lawyers, and unscrupulous media personnel involved in yellow journalistic practices. In fact, there are so many twisted caricatures and diabolical scenarios on display that only a dark ending would have been a befitting one. Fincher, of course, realizes this and delivers a most satisfying climax—one that reminds this critic of Paul Verhoeven’s masterful erotic thriller Basic Instinct.
Even at a runtime of 149 minutes, Gone Girl remains quite an engaging film not only because of its constant twists and turns but also because Fincher manages to elicit convincing performances from his actors. Rosamund Pike’s chilling portrayal of a female psychopath is the movie’s major highlight. Pike made an impressive debut starring opposite Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day. It’s never easy to break the stereotypical image of an eye candy for an actress who starts off her career as a Bond girl, but now that she is the “Gone Girl,” she can finally expect some major acting accolades to come her way, perhaps even a nod from the Academy itself. Pike’s performance in Gone Girl is easily one of the strongest female portrayals in recent times. As Amy Dunne, she is the epitome of feminine chicanery and sexual magnetism à la Glenn Close of Fatal Attraction or Sharon Stone of Basic Instinct, or the archetypal femme fatales of Hollywood's classical film noir period. There's no doubt in the mind of this critic that the icy blonde would have made a great Hitchcock lead lady. In comparison, Ben Affleck’s performance appears somewhat weak. But then it's no secret that Affleck is a better director than actor, and, within his limited acting range, he seems to have played reasonably well the part of a dumbstruck husband. The support cast does a decent job as well with a special mention of Kim Dickens who is quite impressive in the role of a female police detective with a Midwestern accent.
|A Still from David Fincher's Gone Girl|
Overall, Gone Girl proves to be an engaging work of cinematic art that, despite its flaws, has enough drama (as a matter of fact, it’s too dramatic at times) and suspense to offer to its viewers. Gone Girl is not Fincher’s best film, but, nevertheless, it’s a worthy addition to his oeuvre. Made in the vein of classic Hitchcock romantic thrillers, Gone Girl also offers a powerful social commentary on the lack of morality and trust in the modern societies. As a satire on American television news broadcasting, the movie packs a powerful punch, reminding us of some of its most serious threats: How easily can the electronic media swing the public opinion. How easy it has become for disgraced individuals to go out on TV and deliberately confess their ill doings so as to regain their goodwill. How yellow journalism brings disgrace to honest individuals, ruining their lives and careers. Gone Girl also brings our attention to the general lack of fidelity in modern marriages and how easily the economic slowdown (especially, in a Capitalistic setup) can corrode the tenderness in human relationships. Gone Girl is quite high on entertainment quotient, and, at the same time, it offers some good fodder to ruminate upon. Highly recommended!
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