When it comes to life, there are some bright and beautiful memories but for the most part, life is hard. A normal American life consist of growing up while getting an education and then finding a career. Along that journey, we meet people who we make judgements about, both positive and negatives. And at some point we all experience love with another whether man or woman, and we begin that responsibility to take care of that significant other. Unfortunately, there isn’t a handbook on what to do in a marriage which leads to pain and hate of someone you once would die for. In the case of David Fincher’s latest, Gone Girl tackles the subject of marriage and in its beauty and misery. The film takes a look at how hard it is for two people to live with one another when they can’t stand one another. While for the most part the film is a whodunit with the disappearance of a seemingly innocent housewife, it quickly becomes a film that analyzes the issue of an unhappy marriage that features pain, despicable moments and in the end, it’s simply shrugged off as “That’s marriage”.
Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) is a struggling writer in a marriage that seems perfect at first but quickly falls apart. His wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike) is a beautiful, intelligent woman who feels that she is losing herself while trying to salvage a marriage with Nick. One day, “Amazing” Amy disappears out of thin air. A giant manhunt begins for Amy where Nick struggles with his emotions on how to deal with the disappearance of a woman he wasn’t in love with any longer. This ultimately leads to Nick being framed for the potential murder of his wife and the whole story behind it.
This is one of those films that doesn’t feature the darker themes that we’ve grown accustomed to with David Fincher films (ex. Fight Club, Se7en) but is still Fincher’s finest since The Social Network. The director’s style is all over the film, from the green tint to the beautiful cinematography to even the effective score. Yet the film features more comedy than most of Fincher’s films. There are moments that are funny despite the dark subject matter and they never feel forced. Instead they are genuine moments that are placed in the right time to remind the audience its not all bad news.
Despite all my praises of Fincher (and it’s well deserved), the star of the film is no doubt Rosamund Pike, the woman behind Amazing Amy. During the production of the film, angry fanboys on IMDb message boards were questioning the casting of Pike as Amy despite not seeing the actress in action as Amy. Those doubts were quickly put to rest as Pike is spectacular in the film. Some may argue that she was a bit over the top, but I believe that this is the kind of performance that could win the Brit an Oscar. I can guarantee that she will be nominated for Best Actress and is the favorite for it. Pike’s innocent yet ruthless performance gives this film the lift it needed to be more than just good. Unfortunately, it’s hard to describe her performance without spoiling anything.
The other surprising factor in the film was the really good performance by Ben Affleck. Affleck has received a lot of criticism during his acting career and while a lot of it was warranted (Gigli, Daredevil anyone?), he has proven to be a very good actor. He’ll never surpass his best bud Matt Damon in terms of acting in the eyes of many, but he has shown a lot of improvements over the years. As Nick Dunn, he plays a man who is flawed, despicable in many ways, but means well in more ways than one. Affleck plays him well enough to give fans more breathing room and confidence to see Affleck dawn the cowl in 2016. His performance shows a man isn’t saddened by his wife disappearance but he’s rather a bit more relieved. There was a sense of uneasiness when it came to Nick and Amy’s relationship. The two were always telling one another they never wanted to become “that married couple” when it eventually happened to them. Affleck plays the character well to make him seem likable despite being a pretty awful person.
The movie is not all about the in-depth look of a failing marriage, Gone Girl also manages to point out the cartoonish nature of today’s media. Everyday, we deal with the media blowing a story out of proportion just to start some buzz or really get ratings. Fox News, CNN, MSNBC are some examples of these type of media that love taking a story and turning it into something that it’s not. Fox News is more notorious for doing this but CNN isn’t pure though. The film features a news anchor who essentially turns the disappearance of Amy into a murder case that was caused by Nick because he’s a man and he smiled in a picture. Similar to anchors such as Bill O’Reilly, Wolf Blitzer, the film features Missi Pyle in that same vain.
Yet the film is not all about crazy people and the media, in the end, Gone Girl is truly about marriage and how much domestic violence can affect even the most beautiful people. Fincher delivers yet another fine film that features a great performance by the lovely Rosamund Pike and a great performance by Ben Affleck. The supporting cast does its part, and that includes the much maligned Tyler Perry who proves to be a capable actor under a good director. The film does have flaws and most of it lies in the script which features a weak ending and a few plot holes. Nevertheless, this is another great one for Fincher’s collection which already includes Fight Club, Se7en, and The Social Network.