What is the perfect marriage and does it exist? This is just one of the many key questions posed by David Fincher’s latest offering, Gone Girl. The film adaptation of the much-loved Gillian Flynn novel is rather timely: we regularly see broken relationships exposed in the media, in television dramas and, more recently, in the courtroom with the high-profile Oscar Pistorius and Shrien Dewani cases, both of whom are accused of killing their partners.
Going, going, gone
In Gone Girl, the mysterious disappearance of Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) plays out in the media, as husband Nick (Ben Affleck) slowly emerges as a key suspect. We learn that, by their 5th wedding anniversary, both had lost their jobs in their recession, moved to Missouri to be closer to Nick’s dying mother and Nick had been distant, violent and unfaithful.
As the narrative switches effortlessly between Amy’s diary of their marriage and the events following her disappearance, loyalties to certain characters are tested, as you’re unsure whose voice to trust. But nothing will prepare you for the jaw-dropping twist that comes at around the midway point and sets the tone for a disturbing second half.
The film owes much to the flawless performances of its lead actors: Affleck plays the part-time doting husband role with ease while Pike could be a worthy award winner for her expert transition in the film. Familiar faces appear often with important supporting roles played Neil Patrick Harris (Amy’s ex-boyfriend), Tyler Perry (Nick’s attorney) and Emily Ratajkowski (Nick’s mistress).
Director David Fincher manages to replicate the commercial and critical successes of his previous outings, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Social Network, proving that he can thrill audiences and bring grit to the domestic space as well as the corporate and criminal. As expected with Fincher, the soundtrack is eerily suspenseful too, keeping us on edge throughout.
Crazy in love
Do we fall in love or do we fall into it? The film certainly suggests the latter – that love is more like a trap from which we struggle to find escape. As a single twenty-something, the film didn’t fill me with enormous hope for the future when it was labelled as unearthing “the secrets at the heart of the modern marriage”. This is certainly not an ideal watch for date night, nor an advocate for settling down in a relationship.
Despite its 2-and-a-half-hour running length, you become compelled by the fascinating stories of Amy and Nick, wanting to delve deeper still into their fractured relationship. It is a truly gripping film that invites further watches. Fincher has created a film that teases an audience that struggles to play detective in a narrative packed with twists.
Gone Girl is a hauntingly perfect sequence of events that plots the breakdown of an imperfect marriage, exposes cracks in relationships and frames the unsuspecting. The biggest mystery of the year is guaranteed to get under your skin and leave you thinking about it for days.
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