Gone Girl

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Transformed into the kind of wickedly confident Hollywood thriller you pray to see once in a decade, Gillian Flynn's absorbing missing-wife novel emerges – via a faithful script by the author herself – as the stealthiest comedy since ‘American Psycho’. It's a hypnotically perverse film, one that redeems your faith in studio smarts (but not, alas, in tabloid crime reporting or, indeed, marriage). No secrets will be revealed here, apart from an obvious one: director David Fincher, also the maker of 'Seven', 'Zodiac' and 'The Social Network', is more than just your everyday stylish cynic.

Five years of matrimony haven't been kind to the Dunnes, a pair of formerly dazzling NYC writers rocked by redundancy, family illness and a resentful move to rural Missouri. We learn this early on, after the disaster that kicks off the movie: Nick (Ben Affleck, never better) rushes home from work after a neighbour phones to say his cat has slipped out and the front door is wide open. Inside, he finds shattered glass everywhere but no Amy (Rosamund Pike, delivering a ghostly yet dominant performance that's the year's biggest surprise). Has she been snatched? Cops gather, along with news trucks, Amy's snobby Manhattan parents and a dawning sense that here we have a media frenzy in need of a culprit. Nick, who's a touch too aloof, is the perfect suspect.

Toggling between the developing investigation and flashbacks to the couple's happier days in a Brooklyn brownstone (as did Flynn's original structure), Fincher brews an ominous mood of irreconcilable differences. The director's images – beautifully captured by cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth – don't burn. They chill you with corpse-ready cool. Fully recovered from the dutifulness of his ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, Fincher actually flatters and improves on the material with a sneaky theme of performance anxiety: Nick, a ham, pops his engagement ring to Amy in front of a group of bloggers at a launch party for her parents' latest book (the ‘Amazing Amy’ series that's made her family rich). She, in turn, begins to have a hard time pretending to be happy.

‘Gone Girl’, for all its murderous overtones, plays like a sad romantic drama – until the thing happens that no fair critic should reveal, and it becomes unlike anything you've ever seen: a sick, dizzying satire of marital mindfulness. The presence of Tyler Perry as a Johnnie Cochran-like lawyer (the man who repped everyone from Michael Jackson to O J Simpson) is cause enough for laughs. But the deeper chuckle of this movie creeps up on you like a dawning realisation. ‘To have and to hold’ is too easy a way to put it. Go and get clobbered.

Release details

Release date: Friday October 3 2014
Duration: 145 mins

Cast and crew

Director: David Fincher
Screenwriter: Gillian Flynn
Cast: Rosamund Pike
Ben Affleck
Neil Patrick Harris
Tyler Perry

Average User Rating

3.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|9
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Mark W
3 of 3 found helpful

YOU'LL WISH YOU HADN'T (GONE, GIRL) - BOOM BOOM

Massive disappointment. Basic Instinct (Groan) and Fatal Attraction, feminist anti-heroine themed, lame whodiddidntdunnit. Badly self-defeated from the start by the hammy 'unreliable narrative' inserts that make the whole thing seem overly quaint and silly. It's thriller that relies very much on a backdrop of prejudicial/contempt media coverage that doesn't make much sense in the UK, and which is so unconvincing that it may make equally little sense in the US. An episode of Desperate Housewives dragged out too long. Not that you'll care who lives or dies: extremely boring and unsympathetic characters, soapily played, and loads of unexplained nonsense (bad wigs and magic hair styling). If I had to pick one interesting performance it would be Neil Patrick Harris, but he is largely ignored. If you like your thrillers slick and shallow, maybe give it a try. Two stars for the 'new uses for a wine bottle' gag.

Robbie
3 of 3 found helpful

A hugely overrated film. The story of a bunny boiler girlfriend/wife is obviously a huge and instant draw, but that is all that one can say in defence of this film. If you want to see a massively well acted, tense, intelligent film then go and see Maps to the Stars whilst it is still on. A definite five star film. If you don't, then see this. It is not that it is bad - it is n't - and it is n't a bad way to while away two and a half hours, especially if it gives you a couple of hours break from your own bunny boiler. But it is so predictable, corny and so very unbelievable (indeed ridiculous at times) that you need to go and see it with low expectations.

Lady of Leisure
moderator

Watched this the other night - so good! I've often found Rosamund Pike a bit cold and samey, but she was great in this. It has been hyped up, but it's a good watch - the twist is predictable, but unexpectedly violent. I'd maybe not pay full-price at the cinema, but glad I watched it all the same.

cinephile

The ultimate he said/ she said suspense-filled thriller. Makes marriage look like murder, in every sense of the word. Entirely unsuitable viewing for a date but great for discussing with friends afterwards...

Paul C

Yes, over hyped and I either have cloth for ears or the sound was bad. A good yarn but nothing really new and at times predictable.

critique _
Tastemaker

I`m with Mark W on this one. I think if Fincher`s name wasn`t attached to it, The Guild Of Critics would have dismissed it as sneerily as Time Out dished out one of its arrogant 1 star reviews to The Equalizer. And if Ben Affleck can act, then Gone Girl`s plot is entirely credible.

Thurman Murman
0 of 1 found helpful

A very enjoyable thriller with great performances from all the leads. One of the best films of the year.