This will be a spoiler-free review, because I think you should really see this movie.
Let’s begin this one with a brief David Fincher discussion. I have always said, and I will continue to say, movies are a director’s medium (theater and the stage are an actor’s medium). If you are wondering what to watch – figure out who the director of a movie you loved was, then look up other stuff by them. Chances are you will like their other items. Likewise, if you hated a movie – remember that director, chances are you will want to avoid their other work too (Terry Gilliam and Darren Arronofsky are on that list for me). It always blew my mind that people were so shocked at the level of violence in the Passion of the Christ – why? It was by the same insane director who hired real amputees for Braveheart so that the maimings would look more realistic.
David Fincher is a director who started in music videos – but weird ones – in the late 80s and early 90s. He then moved on to creepy weird movies with Alien 3 (yes, the really weird prison one), The movie Se7en (while I will agree that was well done – I hated it and never want to see it again), The Game (which I really liked, but was super creepy and weird), Fight Club (which I personally hated, but again – was well put together), Panic Room (Jodie Foster stuck in a room for two hours while Jared Leto, his cornrows, and Forrest Whittaker try to get her), Zodiac, Benjamin Button, The Social Network, and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (American version). You can start to see the pattern. The movies are well-directed, well-crafted, with some amazing performances; however, on the whole, they are all creepy and weird, and not necessarily enjoyable – just watchable. Did you like those movies? You’ll love this one.
Gone Girl started as a book by Gillian Flynn which was released in 2012, and was swiftly added to the Best Seller List. From what I have been told (I didn’t read it), the movie follows the book pretty closely.
The movie is exceptionally well-crafted, but is very creepy – the score is by Trent Reznor (yes, the one from Nine Inch Nails) again – just like Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – and is also very, very creepy.
The movie starts innocently enough – we are introduced to Nick Dunne as he goes out to the trash on a cold morning, the morning of his 5th anniversary to his wife, Amy. He gets in the car and heads out a bar, named The Bar, which he co-owns with his twin sister, Margo. He shares a drink with Margo, gets a call from his nosy neighbor that the cat is out and heads home. He takes the cat in, and finds the coffee table in the living room destroyed and his wife nowhere to be found. Concerned, he calls the police. Detective Rhonda Boney and Officer Jim Gilpin come by to do a preliminary walk through of the house. Detective Boney puts post-its around the house when she notices interesting things – a potential blood spatter, and the envelope in the bedroom underwear drawer that clearly states “Clue 1”. Nick explains that Amy creates an anniversary treasure hunt for him each year on his anniversary.
As they dig a little deeper, things look worse and worse for Nick – it comes out that he has a young mistress (an incredibly young mistress), that there was a large pool of blood in the kitchen that has since been cleaned up, and that there is a lot of suspicious activity on his credit cards.
All of that much is in the trailers – but I am not going to say anything else. Honestly – you need to see this movie. This is one of those that you absolutely can believe the hype. It is creepy – it is weird, but it is really well done and it is mind blowing. I cannot remember the last time I was sitting in a movie theater and repeatedly had my mouth fall open in astonishment.
Cast-wise, the movie is perfect.
- Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne – and I will just keep hanging out on the Ben Affleck bandwagon as I always have. He is really good in this – quietly subtle, frustrated, and angry. You really go back and forth during the course of the movie – did he kill his wife? Did he not?
- Rosamund Pike – who has quietly been really good for a really long time (I love Doom – but she was first noticeable in Die Another Day), does not let her American accent slip at all during this movie and is just fantastic as Amy. I almost can’t say anything else, but she probably needs a nomination for this movie. The set up of Amy’s character with the effect her parents had on her is incredible.
- Neil Patrick Harris plays Desi Collings – an old flame of Amy’s, who she once filed a stalker complaint against. He is perfect as the completely devoted old friend.
- Tyler Perry’s Tyler Perry plays nationally famous defense attorney Tanner Bolt who comes in to take on Nick’s case. He is very intrigued, and does what he can with the case. Tyler Perry is really good in this, and I look forward to seeing him in more movies both his and others.
- Carrie Coon is really fantastic as the beleaguered Margo Dunne. She does what she can to stand by Nick, and support him – but the evidence is really against him. For a few minutes I thought maybe she was Justine Bateman, but she’s not.
- Kim Dickens really steals almost every scene that she is in as Detective Boney. She goes where the evidence leads her, and tries her best to not be swayed by the public opinion.
- Patrick Fugit plays her assistant, Officer Jim Gilpin. He believes Nick is guilty, almost from the get-go, and the two of them bounce ideas off one another as the case progresses.
- David Clennon and Lisa Banes play Rand and Marybeth Elliot – Amy’s parents, who fly in to help Nick with the search effort. The movie does a great job of clearly explaining them, their business, their personalities, and their effect on Amy.
- Missi Pyle (who normally excels at comedies – go rent DodgeBall again), plays TV pundit Ellen Abbot, who very quickly convicts Nick in the court of public opinion. It is a thinly veiled Nancy Grace impression.
- Emily Ratajkowski plays the young mistress – apparently she was one of the naked models in the Blurred Lines video. You know that is going to go bad for Nick, and you’re right.
- Casey Wilson (the genius from Happy Endings) plays neighbor Noelle Hawthorne who steps up as Amy’s best friend once she goes missing.
- Sela Ward plays Sharon Schieber – another woman with a TV show that Nick goes on to try to convince the public that he is innocent.
- Scoot McNairy plays a man from Amy’s past – he’s great, but I can’t say anything else about that.
Really, that’s the theme here, I can’t say anything else about it – go see it, and see it quickly before someone ruins some part of it for you. It’s creepy, some parts are really off-putting, I wouldn’t say it was entertaining or enjoyable, but it was a really good film and it has been a long time since I have been that surprised by a movie. Be warned – the R rating is no joke, there is a lot of blood and a surprising amount of oral sex in this movie. But don’t worry – nothing happens to the cat. Based on some other Fincher movies (did I mention how much I hated the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo?) I was worried about the cat.
8 out of 10 – really good, and really – go see it. Lost points for the blood. Gained points for Scoot McNairy, lost points for NPH – just too weird. Gained points for Pike, give her the Oscar now, and Gained points for Affleck, and him being the only part of Batman v. Superman that I am looking forward to.
Bonus Video 1: Did you forget Fatal Attraction? You should probably watch it again – don’t get attached to the bunny…also – best ending ever.
Bonus Video 2: Jersey Girl – honestly, one of my favorite Kevin Smith movies, and one in which Affleck is really, really good. If you haven’t seen it – rent it. Also - the best Will Smith cameo of all time.
Bonus Video 3: The Fugitive – There’s no one-armed man in Gone Girl, that would have made things a little easier for Nick, but Sela Ward is in it!
Bonus Video 4: Cast interviews.