Libby Day is a professional victim. She was seven when her mum and sisters were murdered by Satan worshippers, and it was Libby’s evidence that convicted her 15-year-old brother. Thirty years later, she is living off cheques sent by do-gooding well-wishers.
Libby is the heroine of ‘Gone Girl’ author Gillian Flynn’s second novel. Described as under five feet tall, she’s raw, damaged and possibly unhinged. Charlize Theron, who plays her in this new film, is an ex-model; she slouches and wears a cap pulled over her face, but is convincing no one. Which is the least of this film’s problems. The weirdest thing about it is that Gilles Paquet-Brenner pulls in a Hollywood A-team to make a movie that feels like a cheap TV mini-series.
Like the book, it switches between Kansas in the present day and the weeks before the murders. In the here and now, Libby is paid by a group of true-crime geeks who believe her brother is innocent to investigate the case. In 1985, we see her mum (‘Mad Men’ actress Christina Hendricks) struggle against bankruptcy. Some of Flynn’s brilliant narration survives unscathed, but that unnerving way she has of taking us to dark, deliciously twisted places has been utterly massacred.