David Fincher’s “Gone Girl,” based on the 2012 thriller novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, is a wild ride. You had better bring a seatbelt to the theater because you are going to have to buckle up.
The movie starts on the fifth anniversary of Nick and Amy Dunne’s wedding, portrayed by Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike respectively. It’s an ordinary anniversary: the two are having their perennial scavenger hunt to celebrate the occasion. However, something is different this year. Amy has mysteriously vanished from their McMansion in fictional North Carthage, Missouri. The bulk of the film is dedicated to the city’s effort to locate Amy and identify her kidnapper. The direness of the situation is bolstered by the fact that, as a child, Amy was the subject of a series of children’s novels called Amazing Amy. This helps the public rally behind her disappearance.
In “Gone Girl,” nothing is what it seems at all. It manages to maintain a healthy level of confusion and clarification with the viewer receiving information about the realities of the kidnapping at a glacial pace. To describe the movie in one word: stressful. This is not stressful in a negative connotation, but in a rather good way because Fincher successfully builds suspense about Amy. Where is she? Who took her? Why was she taken? Is she alive? All of those questions are answered periodically throughout the movie, feeding the viewers’ interest along the way.
On an acting level, Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike do a phenomenal job. As one would assume, Nick Dunne is the primary suspect in the abduction of his wife. Nick is characterized as a sociopath for his lack of regard for Amy’s disappearance. The viewers, however, are led to believe that the media is mistaken and that Nick is, in actuality, innocent. You are constantly vacillating back and forth between hating and sympathizing with Nick. Affleck does a great job at portraying an immensely complicated character. You, as a viewer, are made to hate him despite not necessarily wanting to. On the other hand, Amy is a character you want to love. Pike does a bang-up job of capturing a character that is as fluid as Amy. Pike flawlessly depicts the subtleties in Amy’s character so well that it helps to contribute to the viewers’ hatred for her husband. I would be shocked if there weren’t Oscar nominations for one of the two.
The plot of the film itself is exceptional and well thought out, designed to keep the viewer trapped in this maze of conflicting narratives. The acting is brilliantly executed by not only the main stars Affleck and Pike, but the rest of the cast as well. Overall, I would rate this movie as an immediate must-see.