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Photograph retrieved from Google Images
To say Gone Girl is an edge of your seat thriller or a twisted mystery would not do it justice. It holds you captive, it makes you unravel the evidence at the same pace as the characters, and then it blows your mind with a twist that would make The Sixth Sense clap its hands and yell at the screen. Gillian Flynn’s novel makes for superb material for David Fincher’s directorial style, and the combination of a crazy story and great casting have resulted in one of the best movies I have seen in a long time.
Fincher does not have many flops on his resume; he’s given us Fight Club, Zodiac, and Se7en, just to name a few. It is safe to say he has refined the art of delivering just enough evidence to keep us baited without blowing the big final twist.
In the story of Gone Girl, that evidence comes in the form of a very guilty looking husband, Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, as he tries to defend, or cover up, what really happened to his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike. Nick and Amy presented the image of a perfect couple to the world, but when he comes home from the bar in the middle of the day and finds the scene of a struggle and no wife in the house, things quickly begin to break the surface of that smooth image.
Nick is very clearly in over his head with both the police and media breathing down his neck, but never seems to get flustered or upset about the fate of his wife. As the investigation focuses solely on him, his actions, and a narration by the missing Amy, certainly don’t help his cause. Just like an episode of The First 48, the detective, probably the best performance of the movie given by Kim Dickens, seems to think she has her man, all she needs is enough evidence to convict him.
The deeper things get, however, the more she begins to doubt if such overwhelming evidence could really not make a guilty man sweat. The movie constantly keeps you on the fence about Affleck; every time he starts looking clean, he does something else dirty.
At about the half way mark, exactly what you never expected in a million years would happen, happens. Like I said, this is half way through, and the entire movie has just taken an enormous, screeching right turn into crazy town. It is almost like Gone Girl 1 ended and Gone Girl 2 just started. It is not an abrupt shift, the evidence has been there all along, but now you and Nick have a whole new problem to solve.
New, and actually funny, characters get thrown in to the mix as the case of missing Amy has the whole country tuning in. Missi Pyle plays a painfully accurate Nancy Grace character, basking in the bloody spotlight. Tyler Perry gets in on the action as Nick’s big shot attorney, and Neil Patrick Harris joins the cause as Amy’s unrelenting ex stalker.
From this point on, things get increasingly dark and twisted. Nick and Amy’s story goes from an open and shut murder mystery to a full-on psycho serial killer thriller in the second half. If you have never seen somebody whack themselves in the eye with a ball-pein hammer, you will.
If you thought a wine bottle could not be used for anything other than a romantic dinner or that Affleck would never strut completely nude across the screen, you were wrong. It is one bomb shell after another as the film builds to its conclusion. Just like the rest of the film, the ending is not what anyone would expect.
In fact, the ending is infuriating, but that only provides one final shock to leave you troubled and surprisingly pleased with your experience.
If you have made it this long without seeing or reading Gone Girl, it is due to hit Netflix and Redbox on Feb. 10, and continues to hold a high standing on internet movie rating sites. Flynn’s other novel, Dark Places, is currently scheduled to hit the big screen sometime this year, but Fincher will not be directing.
He is working on The Girl Who Played with Fire, a follow up to Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which he made in 2011. Of course, Affleck is taking his turn as Batman, so we may not be seeing him in anything this poignant for awhile.
This movie is well worth your time, and definitely takes the spot of best mystery I’ve seen in the past year. Whether you want to read the book first or see the movie, I highly recommend catching this story before one of your friends blows the ending for you. Gone Girl is rated R and runs approximately 150 minutes.
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