As opposed to my habit of comparing a movie adaptation with the book, I decided not to read Gillian Flynn’s novel first. For once, I’d like to be clueless as the Fincher taunt me with his plot only to surprise me later. And oh, oh was that not the best decision, for this movie managed to deliver just that and even more.
The story starts with Nick Dunner (Ben Affleck) narrating about how he wanted to crack open his wife, Amy Elliot Dunne (Rosamund Pike)’s skull to see what she’s actually thinking. Cut to the day of their 5th anniversary, when Nick report that his beloved wife, Amy Elliot Dunne (Rosamund Pike) is missing. Being the famous “Amazing Amy”, her disappearance was rewarded with unrelenting media coverage.
As the story progress, with the help of Amy narrating the flashback of their relationship, the image of their happy marriage unraveled along with the undoing of Nick’s lies.
And suddenly, Nick Dunne found himself in the focus of media circus when it is suspected that he may be not innocent.
Wow. Seriously, wow. It’s been sometimes since I last watched a movie with a story so intricate that left me so thoroughly breathless but still yearning for more. The last time was with The Grand Budapest Hotel, if my memory serves me right, and the last time I am this sad a movie has ended because I still want more was with The Raid 2. But Gone Girl got me undone in a way that is so different with those two movies, because it enthralled me so with the storytelling and layers of deception. Just when I thought that this is the final revelation, that I know where this story is going, Gone Girl surprised me and turn everything around. Again. And Again.
And I think that is what’s so clever about this movie, the way it present itself with a carefully crafted impression as it lead you on before it shattered your expectation. Much like the media circus that surrounds Nick Dunne, Gone Girl is a story of how appearance could be deceiving and mere assumptions could lead into a witch hunt. The story about a witch hunt is, admittedly, not that new. If you want some tearjerking story about how a witch hunt ruin an innocent’s life, go watch The Hunt. Gone Girl, instead, is a story about deception. Lies after lies that build up into a breaking point while at the same time, cementing a foundation for the future.
I’m not sure how much I can ramble on about the story without giving away a major spoiler because really, I hate to take away the pleasure of having the story unravel in front of your eyes. Suffice to say that I really like Gone Girl’s storyline and how it depicts the characters, so faulty and yet perfectly humane. Gone Girl got me looking at Ben Affleck in a new way and I like his portrayal of Nick Dunne as this…mundane husband. I don’t mean it in a bad way, but it’s the way Nick Dunne is in my eyes. He’s just your normal, next door guy that is not exceptionally charming but isn’t hateful either, and he’s just as helpless as anyone would be were they are thrown in his shoes, though I’d admit there are times when he show the steel underneath those awkward-almost-aloof exterior and I relish those moments.
But oh, the one that got me fall head over heels for Gone Girl is Rosamund Pike and her rendition of the trust fund princess Amy Elliot Dunne. Well it was never a fair fight anyway, considering how her character is the archetypal that I usually like, being cynical and detached on some level – and of course, scheming her way out of everything. But I really adore her picture perfect Amy and how captivating she is, beautiful and dazzling both physically and intellectually. In a way, I understand Desi’s blind devotion to her. Speaking about Desi, I don’t know if it’s because I’ve gotten far too used to see Neil Patrick Harris as Barney, but there’s just something that doesn’t bode well with me about Desi. Maybe it was because being the rich frat boy that he is, Desi fall a little too close to NPH’s Barney and thus it is weird to see him acting like a lovestruck fool, but Desi still struck me as being a little two-dimensional. Or maybe it’s just because he’s not as complicated as Amy and Nick, and that make him far too simple and weak to my liking. On the contrary, I like Carrie Coon’s Margo Dunne because of her careless and sarcastic manner, and the way she appear to always be strong and stay true to her brother. Same thing also apply to Kim Dicken’s Detective Rhonda Boney, with her deadpan attitude and the way she keeps a cool head among all the witch hunt. She even said that she’s conducting an investigation, not a witch hunt. While Tyler Perry’s Tanner Bolt is, while charming, appear to be more of a comic relief. He does get serious at times, but he mostly keep his upbeat attitude. I do appreciate his presence though, it makes thing a lot lighter.
All in all, Gone Girl boost a very compelling story with top notch characters – I do admit that I might be a bit biased because I get a little too excited with the appearance not just one, but three strong willed female characters. But personally, Gone Girl echoes to my ever cynical thoughts about marriage, that is just a never ending fight for dominance while keeping up a facade of happy life. And maybe that’s why I like this movie so. Also, the “I killed for you, how many people can say that?” line is just the kind of creepily romantic stuff that the closet-romantic in me long to hear.
Director: David Fincher. Writer: Gillian Flynn. Released on: 9 October 2014 (Singapore). Casts: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens.