Review: Gone Girl
The near-perfect execution of Gone Girl not only entertains and grips throughout as this sordid mystery unfolds, but better yet disguises the fact that at its base, this is a juicy upper-middle class suburban melodrama.
It just has so many mesmerizing distractions, from peculiar characters (like an awkward, wealthy romancer) to numerous puzzle-piece flashbacks as read by the heroine from her diary, that the story is far more devilishly delightful than we realize on the surface.
After a morning drinking at his sister’s bar on his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) returns home to find an open door, a broken coffee table, and a missing wife. The moment when the audience, the two lead detectives, the neighbours, the immediate family, and the public at large start to suspect him come at different times, if at all.
That’s because this layered mystery very methodically, smartly unravels for the viewer. We flashback to a quirky meeting between Nick and Amy, a torrid romance, financial success, and then financial ruin paired with familial obligations.
So there may be some fractures in this relationship; well, yes, there are. Director David Fincher masterfully tells the story adapted from Gillian Flynn’s screenplay, a story that pivots dramatically during a stunning turning point halfway through.
Then again, it may only be stunning if you haven’t read the book. A two-and-a-half hour runtime flies by for the uninitiated; I can’t speak for those who read the book before seeing the film, but it stands to reason that with Fincher in charge, the film still plays out in haunting fashion.
It is a sublime, immersive world and by the end, you’re left agape, maybe ruined by the scheming nature, the nefarious lengths people will go to for their own selfish desires.
Still yet, there is a comedic element and strange moments of levity, absurdity. It is excessive and gratuitous, with critiques of our culture that includes a fear-mongering legal commentator (a caricature), paranoid housewives, and a smooth-talking lawyer (Tyler Perry, also a caricature). These ridiculous diversions though are kept in check.
Gone Girl has a mesmerizing quality; it’s a most beautiful, chilling train wreck, a disaster that sucks in guilty person after guilty person: there is no innocence in love and marriage and family. So the only thing you have to feel bad for is relishing in it as much as you do.