David Fincher is part of a special group of modern filmmakers, a group that includes the likes of Wes Anderson, Christopher Nolan, and Alfonso Cuaron. These directors are elite in their craft due to their consistency; they commit themselves to a certain style that is purely their own.
Masterpieces of modern film are usually the result. These directors are able to seamlessly create entire, engrossing worlds and convey moods more effectively than most.
But Fincher got off easy. The world of Gone Girl had already been created in Gillian Flynn’s exceptional 2012 novel from which the film is adapted.
Fincher just had to do what he does best: Bring Flynn’s macabre world to life using his style that fits it just right.
In essence, he was the perfect man for that job.
Gone Girl is part crime-procedural, part marriage drama with the disturbing foundations of a Tarantino film. It follows Nick Dunne as he has to manage being caught in multiple headlights when his wife, Amy, disappears on their 5th wedding anniversary. The did-he-or-didn’t-he suspicion plays out for about a third of the film…until the big twists start coming into play.
A collaboration for the ages
The genius minds of Fincher and Flynn couldn’t have synergized at a better time. In fact, why did it take this long?
There was some concern over how well the narrative style of Flynn’s novel would transition to the big screen. Would it be able to retain the suspense without giving away certain characters’ motives?
Worry no more. Flynn, who was actually chosen to write the script for the film, brings to life every detail of her conniving characters and the deceit-filled world they live in magnificently. Flynn’s signature dark wit, morbid atmosphere, and memorable characters, it’s all there. And the way the plot unfolds works is an absolute work of art, one that will leave you second-guessing everyone involved.
The Dunne’s are in a pickle.
Gone Girl is lengthy, clocking in at just around two and a half hours, but Flynn’s world is so sprawling that the film’s editors should get lots of credit for keeping it that short. There is nary a moment where the film drags; it paces along excellently and swiftly and it is one of the film’s many strengths.
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it
Fincher (The Social Network, Fight Club, Se7en) has brought many dark worlds, dark attitudes, and dark characters to life, to memorable effect. Gone Girl is no exception. It’s almost too easy for him at this point, because Flynn’s story is right up his alley.
Fincher employs his trademark tone and cinematic style to grandstanding effect. The way light sets the mood. The snappy dialogue. The numerous dramatic build-ups. The sweeping and intimate cinematography. His attention to detail is once again 20/20 and the result is a film as disturbing as the novel it is based upon, and that is saying something.
Did he? Didn’t he? Could he? Would he?
The score plays a huge role in that disturbance. For the third time Fincher collaborates with Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – they won an Oscar for 2010’s The Social Network soundtrack – and for the third time, it is a fruitful partnership. The music in Gone Girl is unrelenting, it’s eerie, and it’s downright frightening at some points. The score has become a staple of Fincher’s films, as it should be.
Acting is also a huge part of Gone Girl’s success. Ben Affleck (Argo, The Town, Good Will Hunting) begins a career renaissance spanning multiple years. He is cold, naïve, and mysterious as the helpless Nick Dunne. Rosamund Pike (Pride & Prejudice, Jack Reacher) however takes it to another level altogether. She is terrifyingly visceral and viscerally terrifying from the onset as the damsel in distress Amy Elliott-Dunne. Forget watching Annabelle, Pike will haunt you with her performance. Her seething, goosebumps-inducing narration as the plot unfolds. Her unrelenting stare which will leave you guessing what emotions she’s feeling. Pike is Flynn’s Amy come to life in every way imaginable, and it’s a sight to behold, possibly multiple times.
Gone Girl will easily be the most polarizing film amongst audiences in 2014, a la The Wolf of Wall Street to a certain extent. The subject matter is especially interesting considering numerous current events, and Flynn’s themes are heavy-handed. Everything you know about the damsel in distress story will be turned on its head in the most devious and know-you-sideways way possible.
Of course, if you read Flynn’s hit novel, you are aware of said subject matter.
If you haven’t yet delved into the wonderfully sinister world of Gone Girl, buckle up.
It’s gonna be a fun ride.
In a Nutshell
Fincher continues a torrid run of creating masterpieces from existing historical and literate material. No other director could pull off Flynn’s gem of a novel as well as he does. Think you know what’s coming? Think again.
9.5 / 10 or Ever wonder how bad a marriage can get? Almost as bad as missing this film.
Gone Girl is rated R for a scene of bloody violence, some strong sexual content/nudity, and language
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike
Directed by: David Fincher