IMDB Link: Gone Girl (2014)
Director: David Fincher
Writer: Gillian Flynn
Stars: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris
Based on: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Synopsis: With his wife’s disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it’s suspected that he may not be innocent.
Unlike any of the other adaptations that David Fincher has done in his filmography, I had actually previously read Gone Girl just as it was about to be adapted into this film. This was at a time when I was an avid reader and would read nearly 100 books a day, and I thought I would get sucked into this world given the fascinating plot. Whilst the set-up and concept are both fantastic, and one that perfectly fits David Fincher’s style of filmmaking, I was actually disappointed with the book. That was why I had been hesitant to watch this adaptation until now.
What this film nails, quite like the casting in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is the casting of Rosamund Pike as Amy Dunne. This is an incredibly hard role to play, and that is obvious even just from the novel. There has to be that balance of sweetness that the general public can easily fall in love with, whilst having that darkness behind closed doors. Rosamund Pike is sensational and it is simply a crime that she has not been used more within Hollywood after this sensational performance.
The set-up was one that got me initially gripped into the novel when I read it, and it once again did the same for me here. The concept is one that has so much potential, with a thriller based on a missing wife. When this film works, it works so incredibly well. Even when things occur that don’t seem believable, Rosamund Pike sells every scene that she is in. The scene of her with Neil Patrick Harris in a bed will probably never leave my mind, and I love that the film takes the material and goes as dark as it does.
However, this film falls into the same traps that the book falls in, and that is to do with the character of Nick Dunne (who is played by Ben Affleck). I want to start by saying that I do not blame Affleck for his portrayal, as I think he does a solid job with what he is given. However, I am simply not a fan of the way that the film – as well as the novel – writes his character within the story. This film is heavily focused on wanting the characters to reconnect and wanting justice, and yet that feels empty from his side. It is hard to care about what happens to him, or to Amy, or both of them together, when the characters are just so hard to like in the first place.
I felt like the novel was completely unbelievable with how smart Amy Dunne is as a character, leading me to not believe the world-building and questioning the logistics of everything throughout the book. David Fincher does his best to illustrate and show as much as he can with the logic, including the perception that people naturally have in the general public, the media, and the police team. However, there is still a lot that feels unbelievable and ruins the tension of the film, as I do not believe that the plot could go the way that it does and not have any ramifications in the finale for it.
This is easily my least favourite film from David Fincher as of now, and yet I do not blame him for this being the case. He does show that he can use tone effectively, create sequences that leave you shocked and know what performances are needed to bring the film to life. Quite simply, I had major issues with the book by Gillian Flynn and she just couldn’t fix those issues with me for the screenplay. I know I am in the minority for this one, but this is not one I could recommend.