Gone Girl-more than just the girl has gone!
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike deliver simply stunning performances in Director David Fincher’s screen adaptation of Gillian Flynn‘s best-selling novel about the disintegration of a marriage, Gone Girl.
Normally, I decry the level of profanity in most movies-it is a sign of laziness, and a lack of a grasp of the subtlety of language and a lack of control. However, the level of swearing in Gone Girl is not overdone, it’s borne from a reaction to lies and deceit-the duplicitous nature of the lives the characters lead.
This is an unsettling tale about the unseemly nature of the environment into which people are thrust. The murky world of innuendo and half-truth engulf this movie. Ultimately, trust is the victim.
People have been misshapen, lives molded into a form that others want it to be.
It is also a commentary on the power of instant news and social media and the distortion of reality.
The pace of this thriller never wanes, the editing is controlled perfectly to leave the viewer slightly uncertain about what will ensue.
What begins as a missing person’s case, Nick Dunne (Affleck), after making an unconvincing, yet obligatory public appeal, on the occasion of the couple’s 5th Wedding Anniversary, turns quickly into a homicide investigation. Nick is suspect No.1 in his wife, Amy’s (Pike) murder.
Set predominantly in Missouri, the story has its roots in New York and the fact that Amy has always felt some resentment toward her husband at having to leave her ideal life there. Nick’s mother is dying and the couple move back to care for her. The silence of the small town will be shattered by the cacophony of deceit.
The local detective, Boney, played with just the right level of suspicion by Kim Dickens and police officer, Gilpin, (Patrick Fugit) are assigned to find the “gone girl”. Gilpin is sure Nick is guilty. Boney automatically sees an implausibility in Nick’s story. The crime scene has obviously been staged and coupled with Nick’s indifferent behaviour, she too is sure of his guilt.
Hounded by the media, Nick flees to what he thinks will be the sanctuary of his sister Margot’s (Carrie Coon) house. Nick and Margot co-own a local Carthage bar. Margot is understandably alarmed by Nick’s reaction to his wife’s disappearance but accepts his plea of innocence.
The veil of secrecy begins to lift when we learn of the clandestine life Nick has been leading. His act of betrayal is discovered by Margot. Her belief in Nick is severely dented.
The genesis of Amy’s battle with a spiraling loss of control and identity we now discover, began from birth. This lack of identity permeates through the entire film. Amy’s actions can be seen to be a severe response to her life long manipulation by others.
This is where the film deviates from the norm. Instead of delivering the twist at the end it throws it at the audience right in the middle.
The media have set up camp outside the home. Any move made by Nick is deemed suspicious. Scurrilous accusations of the abandonment of Nick’s father (who has dementia) and even incest are levelled at Nick by talk show host Ellen Abbott (Missi Pyle). The power of the media to sway public opinion is never more potent.
Is he is being set up? How is he going to convince Boney and now the FBI, otherwise.
The next phase of Amy’s plan will be her masterpiece and injects the audience with a foreboding apprehension.
The climax comes in two parts-one grotesque, the other sublime.
Overtones of Lady MacBeth abound, whose blood soaked hands can never be “washed clean by all the rivers of the land” abound. Lady MacBeth spiralled into depression and madness-for she could never atone for her sins. Atonement will never enter Amy’s mind.
Her life is hers.
Rating of 9 out of 10