Sunday, October 5, 2014

Gone Girl Review

'You ever hear the expression "the simplest answer is often the correct one?" ' 'Actually, I've never found that to be true'

Fincher's take on Gillian Flynn's highly appraised novel 'Gone Girl' has finally made its way to the big screen, only two years after the book's publication. 'Gone Girl' is more than just a story of a wife gone missing, but an intrinsic examination of the power-play and manipulation at the core of this contemporary union. On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) comes home to find his living room in a state of disarray and his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike) missing. After informing the police of her disappearance, it isn't long before Nick is swamped with unwanted media coverage that seems to delight in the act of demonizing his every word and action, twisting his public persona into an unempathetic, sociopathic prime suspect to his wife's suspected murder.

Its a film about deception and dishonesty within long-term relationships, and Fincher seems to revel in hollowing out and investigating the dark recesses of a marriage both malevolently pulled apart and at once forcefully reassembled through malice and manipulation. As an audience, we are forced to wonder, how well can you really know your loved ones, or rather, how well can you really know anyone? It's a theme that echoes throughout much of Fincher's work from Fight Club, to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Trust is something that needs to be earned, and Nick is played into Amy's meticulously planned game, a test to find the man she once loved and prove her capability.

The film itself is a multi-layered, multifaceted mind game wherein it's easy to dismiss the initial premise as nothing but a curve ball, a ploy to distract us from the dysfunctionality and possessiveness at the core of it all. But its all linked. It is all outwardly reflected once the media adopts this story as it's own, again twisting perception and perpetuating the melange of supposed truth, suspicion and rumour to shape public opinion. Organizing it's headliners into easily digestible stereotypes: virile, cold, demoniac killer husband Nick , and sweet, innocent, unassuming 'Amazing Amy'. Its the use of Twitter, Fox News and all the media turbulance that firmly anchors Gone Girl in the post millennial era. Our dependence on media, and it's ability to shape our fears, opinions and hone in on our paranoid doubts is made absolute. 


'Amazing Amy is always one step ahead', Amy's seemingly perfect alter ego created by her parents as a way to profit from her childhood is something that seems to both haunt and motivate our headstrong protagonist throughout her life. Though through the course of the film their characters seem to merge as it is revealed that Amy herself is in fact one step ahead of everyone else. Amy takes back control from those around her, and the line between her fictional accounts and the reality of her marriage begins to blur and disintegrate as she does so, making it hard to discern the truth from lies, as neither party seems wholly reliable. Fact and fiction are interspersed so, as the viewer, you rely on the film to unravel the key plot points to reveal the story, keeping you constantly on edge. However despite it all, you're still left with a sense of ambiguity. Why did these people do the things they did, what were their motives? Unlike in many films in which the viewer knows more than the characters on screen, its easy with 'Gone Girl' to feel just as lost as the characters themselves.

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross again provide the score, marking their third collaboration with Fincher after The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Their chilling soundtrack seems to perfectly echo both the hollowness of Nick and Amy's relationship, and the lack of communication throughout by use of airy synthesisers, xylophones and piano, and more artificial sounds for a jarring, sinister effect that reflects the superficial nature of their relationship.

Fincher and Flynn work so well together to respect the structure and overall feel of the book, they're a match made in heaven, with Fincher applying his trademark style and painting a cinematic veneer over this morbid tale. Though the pacing seemed a little off at times, with the first and third act by far being the strongest, the end doesn't quite pack the punch you'd expect, but rather leaves you with a sense of troubling uneasiness. Things come full circle, with dark, grim realizations intact, making for interesting post-movie chatter and food for thought. Gone Girl would definitely merit from a second viewing.