Friday, March 11, 2016

Film Review: Gone Girl (2014)

Gone Girl (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...stylish, suspenseful, and provocative."

Nice Dunne (Ben Affleck), an unemployed writer and current owner of The Bar, becomes the primary suspect in the disappearance of his wife, Amy Elliot Dunne (Rosamund Pike)…

Gone Girl is a film with many surprises, so I'll keep the details and spoilers to a minimum. The film follows Nick on the day of his fifth anniversary. When he arrives home, he finds a suspicious scene. When the cops arrive, they find a suspicious scene – for different reasons. At the same time, the film recounts the fable of Nick and Amy's romance and their eventual marital issues. Essentially, the film paints two portraits at once. To his utter dismay, Nick finds himself losing an image battle as he's portrayed as an uncaring husband and eventually suspected in Amy's disappearance. However, the truth, which is revealed fairly early in the film, is much more complex and intriguing. The film leads to a disappointing albeit interesting conclusion. For me, the film really began to fizzle by the final act.

Gone Girl is an interesting film. It's a very good film, too. The meticulously constructed narrative takes us into a dark psyche and a devious plot. It's part whodunit, part revenge-thriller. For the most part, it is all executed well. From the initial disappearance to the revelation, the story delivers plenty of punches – most of them land, too. The mystery keeps you engaged and the twisted quest for vengeance keeps you surprised. The exploration of these characters, oblivious or dark, is splendid. You'll hate them, you'll love them... No, wait, you'll only hate them, but that's good! It's a film that makes you feel. It's not a fast-paced, action-packed revenge-thriller, but it mimics that feel through a masterfully-executed slow-burn pace and the story.

Gone Girl isn't perfect, though. First and foremost, I felt some of the dialogue was peculiar - it felt like something you'd read in a cheesy romance novel. (No offense.) Now, for those who have seen the movie, some of this may be explained in the film, so I won't hate it for it, but that doesn't mean I'll excuse it. On that point, at times, the film felt a bit convoluted at times. I wasn't lost, but it required more work than necessary because of the inconsistent storytelling. You see, Nick's story is told in a straight line; Ann's story is sprawled across several points. Eventually the stories catch up to each other, but I thought it was a bit messy at times. The film is also a bit too long for its own good. There are moments where it felt like it was dragging its feet, purposely stretching itself thin. This is one of the reasons the ending lacked a significant impact.

The acting is good. Ben Affleck is mostly great, really. During some more demanding scenes, he's rendered barely serviceable, but he's mostly good. Rosamund Pike was also great in her role. I thought Tyler Perry was really good in this, too. The film is shot well. The cinematography is superb. The film sounds great, too. I enjoyed the often subtle music. On the technical side, the film is excellent. Gone Girl is written by Gillian Flynn, who also penned the source material, and directed by David Fincher. I loved the plot, I thought it was a great exploration of the sinister mind. However, I did feel Flynn's screenplay was inefficient. It's not necessarily bad, but it often felt a bit slow, bloated, and convoluted, which ultimately took some of the punch from the film. As usual, David Fincher delivers a well-crafted, stylish thriller.

Overall, Gone Girl is a very good film. It takes us to dark territory via a meticulously-crafted narrative. It's stylish, suspenseful, and provocative. However, the film can also be a bit dull and slow – even a little implausible at times. I was mostly disappointed with the ending, though. It's dark, sure, but it just didn't hit as hard as the rest of the film. It felt like the story just gave out before the end of the race. It's a great film, obviously well-made, but this is one of those films I just don't love as much as the rest of world. Sorry, IMDB Top 250, maybe next time.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood, sex and nudity.

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