With ‘Gone Girl’, Gillian Flynn (screenwriter, and author of the original novel) and David Fincher (director) hold up the most shameful of mirrors for us to each take a long hard stare at ourselves, at the people we care about and, most importantly, at our society. So it may be unnerving to know that what you see staring back at you belongs in the depths of hell . . . and it shall never be unseen.
The writer-director team combine perfectly to create a totally insane movie-going experience that sees Fincher at his demented best and marks Flynn out as a major talent.
Five years of marriage has come to this. On the day of their anniversary, Amy (Rosamund Pike, in a career-defining role) goes missing, leaving her loving husband, Nick (the equally fantastic Ben Affleck), behind to lead the search. But, as you may already know, things go sour . . . and then some.
Fincher and Flynn take us on a relentless ride through the terrifying world of 21st century sensationalist media. We see public opinion spasming from one extreme to the other; crashing the weight of the world onto our characters’ shoulders and then drowning them to relieve the stress.
The film lifts the lid on the darkest depths of modern life. On the fact that no one can live a life free of lies and hate, how we’re all forced to play a role in some kind of twisted reality. A world where you’re brutally punished for being yourself and a misplaced smile can destroy you.
The first hour, in particular, is truly sublime as Fincher fulfills our voyeuristic desires and lets us peek behind the curtain, unlike the cavalry of news vans banished to the curb. This section of the movie then culminates in a breathlessly paced reveal that will leave you short of breath and dizzy with the macabre truth.
This marks the high-point and things begin to slow down from there on out. The drama becomes somewhat subdued, but it soon becomes apparent that it’s just a front for the underlying mania . . .
To swell . . .
And burst . . .
The delirium begins, and the final act tears through the remaining story wildly, leaving out key moments with infuriating results. However, the bewildering narrative-jumps mellow into a sense of chilling unease that lingers right through to the final scene.
Gone Girl is an ever-fascinating, if nihilistic, portrait of 21st century life. It will change the way you look at your loved ones and it will change the way you look at yourself.
Shakespeare said it better than I ever could, ‘all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players’ . . . and what an intoxicating play it is.