Scott Says David Fincher’s Gone Girl is Dark, Trashy, Fantastic Entertainment

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FILM REVIEW: GONE GIRL

 

BY SCOTT PETERSON

 

 

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Leave it to David Fincher to jump from adapting and directing one hugely popularly novel, Stieg Larssen’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo to now taking on Gillian Flynn’s enormous hit novel, Gone Girl.  On the surface, these films don’t seem like the proper subject matter for an auteur like Fincher. At first glance, it’s almost as if the director of such classics as Fight Club, Seven, The Game, and The Social Network is somewhat slumming it up, biding his time until something bigger and better comes his way.  But once you peel back the layers and dig a little deeper, you will see that Flynn’s Gone Girl is actually the perfect source material for a director like Fincher.  Gone Girl is a pulpy, dark, trashy indictment on a wide array of subjects varying from the present day state of marriage to the tabloid obsessed TMZ media that most certainly fuels the public lynch mob that circles around these types of train-wreck stories like frenzied sharks in bloodied water.  Nobody does gloom and doom better than David Fincher and it turns out that Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is the perfect marriage for his talents. No pun intended.

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Gone Girl centers around the disappearance and search for the missing Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), the beautiful, wealthy, and doting housewife of Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck).  Amy is famously referred to as Amazing Amy, a character based on her life as a child in an immensely popular series of kids books created by her father. Nick and Amy have long since uprooted from their big city life in New York City and headed off to Missouri to help take care of Nick’s dying mom. Nick wakes up on the morning of his five year anniversary and heads over to the bar he runs with his twin sister Margo ( a fantastic Carrie Coons). Nick suddenly gets a phone call from a frantic neighbor and bolts home to find his front door flung wide open, his cat sitting quietly on the lawn, and most alarmingly, a shattered glass coffee table waiting for him inside. Nick phones the police to notify them of Amy’s absence. After calmly walking detectives Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) and Jim Gilpen (Patrick Fugit) through the house, Nick’s overall smooth demeanor is met with raised eyebrows from the two detectives.  As anyone who has watched a few episodes of Dateline or Forty-Eight-Hours knows, the spouse is always suspect number one and Nick and Amy Dunne’s perfect marriage immediately gets thrown under a microscope.

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While under this shroud of suspicion, Nick does his best Scott Peterson (no relation) impression.  Smugly grinning in front of the cameras, all while publicly clamoring to the circling vultures of media members for any information regarding the whereabouts and disappearance of his wife. As the police ratchet up the investigation and start to tighten their noose around Nick, it becomes clear that the Dunne’s storybook marriage has a few disconcerting inconsistencies. Nick hires high profile defense attorney Tanner Bolt ( Tyler Perry) to try and sway public opinion and more importantly, clear him of all wrong doing and avoid the death penalty. That’s as far as I’m going. If you have read the book, you know where the story is going.  All the fun will be in the meticulous details.  If you haven’t read the book, get ready because the twists come fast and furious.

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Like Fincher did  previously with Rooney Mara in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, he once again puts Rosamund Pike’s Amy Dunne front and center.  Pike is fantastic.  Whether it’s her pain- filled voice reading diary entries or the deep gaze from Amy’s dark eyes, Pike’s performance is the glue that holds Gone Girl together.  After my first viewing of Gone Girl I had a problem with the film’s ending but after letting it resonate for a few days, I realized that the film couldn’t have ended any other way.  People are going to flock to Gone Girl in droves and while it may not have the ending the general public wants, it assuredly has the ending the general public deserves.

 

FINAL WORD:  StarStarStarHalf Star