Gone Girl (2014), probably David Fincher’s best movie since Seven (1995) and The Social Network (2010), portrays a young married couple, Nick and Amy Dunn, who look perfectly happy until Amy suddenly disappears one day. Quickly, Nick becomes the main suspect.
Through flash-backs, the encounter between Amy (Rosamund Pike) and Nick (Ben Affleck) is shown during a party followed by their first kiss at night. Everything seems to be a fairy-tale, especially when, one night, they are both invited by her parents to celebrate her fictional wedding. Indeed, her parents invented a comic character called “Amazing Amy” based on their real daughter. While Amy was interviewed by journalists, saying that, unlike her, her fictitious alter ego was married, Nick finally proposes to her in front of them after two years of a relationship. For the very first time, she looks like her fictional character and becomes Mrs Dunn. One day, however, Nick finds his house in a complete mess, and his wife is missing without any explanation. Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) comes and finds many proofs against him including a diary in which Amy describes how their relationship went from bad to worse. Nick’s twin sister’s Margo “Go” (Carrie Coon) and his defence attorney’s Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry) stand by Nick’s side in his quest to discover the truth in spite of the serious charges against him.
One particular thing is that missing Amy’s point of view is given by her diary. Her voice-over narrates the steps of her relationship with Nick from the fairy-tale to hell. Pretty incriminating, her diary offers a look of their marriage different from the idyllic one shown at the beginning of the movie. When love is gone, Amy herself becomes a gone girl. Very soon, it becomes clear that things are not what they seem to be.
As in Fincher’s previous movie Seven, the topic of sin is an underlying theme. There is no Manichaeism among characters, least of all “Amazing Amy”, the example of the “cool girl” who can’t exist but on paper. As Amy highlights it, perfection is a pure product of invention. Gone Girl is a tale that reveals what is hidden within people. The more perfect they seem, the more vicious they are. Far from Hollywood clichés, Gone Girl characters swarm with imperfections and that’s probably what makes this film a true masterpiece.
Fincher manages to give his movie a pictorial atmosphere where everything seems about to vanish. The scenes are murky always shot in the dark. They have the same gloomy atmosphere which is only underscored by steel-blue and yellowish colours like a crime scene. Everything looks oppressive, even the outside scenes look like they were being shot behind closed doors.
Fans of Gillian Flynn’s best-seller would certainly appreciate Fincher’s adaptation and the actors’ outstanding performances, without forgetting the point of view that Fincher, as a film director, decides to take. Indeed, Fincher shoots every step of Amy and Nick’s relationship without ever taking a side. There is no judgment even if both characters can be blamed for their actions at any time. In that way, he respects Flynn’s will not to be committed by just exposing the story of a couple to the audience His clever choice makes of the spectator the only judge of the terrific plot Gone Girl is about without adding any unnecessary pathos to his movie. Simple and incredible, that is the spirit of Gone Girl.
Gone Girl grossed a worldwide total of $368 million, against a budget of $61 million. Fincher managed to release both a commercial and critical success which would certainly attract new readers to check if the original book is as good as its interpretation is.
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne
Rosamund Pike as Amy Elliott Dunne, Nick’s missing wife
Neil Patrick Harris as Desi Collings, Amy’s ex-boyfriend
Tyler Perry as Tanner Bolt, Nick’s attorney
Carrie Coon as Margo “Go” Dunne, Nick’s twin sister
Kim Dickens as Detective Rhonda Boney, the lead investigator on Amy’s disappearance
Patrick Fugit as Officer James Gilpin, Boney’s partner
Missi Pyle as Ellen Abbott, a cable TV host
Emily Ratajkowski as Andie Fitzgerald, Nick’s mistress and student
Casey Wilson as Noelle Hawthorne
Lola Kirke as Greta
Boyd Holbrook as Jeff
Cean Chaffin (producer)
Jim Davidson (associate producer)
Lesli Dixon (executive producer)
Joshua Donen (producer)
Arnon Milchan (producer)
Bruna Papandrea (executive producer)
Jeff Cronenweth (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Production Design by
Donald Graham Burt
Art Direction by
Sue Chan (supervising art director
20th Century Fox
New Regency Enterprises
Pacific Standard Productions