Gone Girl, 2014
dir. David Fincher
So, I am the last person in the world to review this film, and that is only because I only got to see it (finally!!!!) yesterday. Still, I’ll try to make this as non-spoiler-y as possible, because it’s a fairly “mysterious” film, and it’d be awful to ruin it for someone who still hasn’t had a chance to go and watch it.
Anyway, let’s start by using the first word that came to mind as the credits rolled: “mindfuck”. Pardon my French, but this is an utter mindfuck of a film, not in a bad way though! It’s a mindfuck like Se7en and Fight Club are, but toned way up. It’s a mystery within a mystery, and, as David Fincher himself pointed out in a recent BBC Radio 4 podcast with Kermode and Mayo he was in (available on iTunes), the audience can be split between Team Nick and Team Amy because it’s really hard to know who to trust. This humble reviewer’s mind got twisted so many times, just as I knew what was happening, Amy shot a look, or Nick said something, and it all went upside down again. And it truly is masterful, because it’s difficult to convey such ambiguous characters on screen where you can’t really hear their thoughts, in a way that is believable and doesn’t spark automatic hatred from the audience. What Gillian Flynn (who wrote both the novel this film was based upon, and the screenplay) and Fincher managed to do here is a fascinating character study, and a true, albeit frightening look into a crumbling marriage.
And while the whole cast carries the story with enormous grace, Rosamund Pike (Pride and Prejudice, The World’s End) and Ben Affleck (Argo, Good Will Hunting) deserve a lot of praise for this. Affleck is in fine form as husband Nick Dunne, who notices his wife’s gone missing and reports it to the police. The way he plays Nick’s intricate character is incredibly nuanced, and it make me think that maybe there is hope for actor-Ben Affleck yet. But Pike shines. She is the central character of the story, what drives it forwards and brings it backwards, and it is deliciously unpredictable. Amy can be vicious and mean, and absolutely charming. She is a grade-A manipulator, and Pike performs it all with fantastic mastery. She knows exactly when to give control and when to lose control, and it’s been a while since there’s been such a wonderfully complex female character at the centre of a plot.
What also made this film what it is, a quiet, shivering thriller, was the score composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (who also wrote the scores for Fincher’s The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Their music was what made me really want to see this, to be honest, because I am totally obsessed with The Social Network score [listen to it in full here], and I knew it was going to take the whole film up a notch because there is an underlying chemistry between David Fincher’s style and Reznor and Ross’s compositions. There is something chilling about it, like a whisper in the back of your throat when you’re walking alone at night and you know there’s no one there. The film feels a lot like that, and the visuals combined with this score made it even more thrilling to experience.
While there were definitely some problems with this film, like with any other, it was overall a powerful feature, beautifully shot, and admirably performed. Truly an excellent film that I urge you to watch as soon as possible.
review by Mariana Duarte