OH…MY…GOD! This was phenomenal.
David Fincher is a critically claimed director. Yes, he’s responsible for making the worst film I’ve ever seen (Alien 3) but following his premiere film, he rolled some huge hits onto the Hollywood strip, including Se7en, The Game, Fight Club, Panic Room and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Clearly one of the best directors of the last 20 years.
Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) was in love to a pretty blonde and marriage to this blonde seemed like a great idea. Five years later, he hates his marriage but won’t ask for a divorce because he’s broke. After coming home to find his living room upturned and his wife missing, a manhunt to find her begins. Dunne shows little empathy and few emotions, drawing the suspicious eyes of the police and the more that develops, the more it seems that Nick Dunne killed his wife.
Adapted from the 2012 novel by Gillian Flynn, the script and character writing are of the greatest esteem. With so many kidnapping/crime films, uniquity is hard to come by but remains for the entirety of the film. No character feels unneeded and no plot point unwanted.
Something I loved about this film was that it was never clear-cut where this story was going. There were always multiple routes that this story could have taken. I don’t usually see stories like that. I don’t want to use the word “predictable” because that’s not what I mean, but I find a lot of the stories today predetermined. I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen but I know it’s going to center field. Gone Girl was not like that at all. I had no idea where this was going because of all the avenues this had at its disposal. When I’ve seen a movie based on a book without reading the book, rarely do I go to review the original source material. Gillian Flynn’s novel is on the top of my recreational reading list.
There were wrinkles in the overall fabric but they were put there on purpose. It was not accidental or a temporary lapse of the pen. They were put there for a reason.
Affleck has received plenty of hate over social media after news broke that Affleck would be the new Batman in the upcoming Superman-Batman film. If you’ve seen Daredevil, you know why. For a little, I admit I bought into all the hate. Ben Affleck is a wild-card for me. Good Will Hunting? Life-changing. Armageddon? Over-hyped. Reindeer Games? Witty and creative. Pearl Harbor? Hated by most, loved by me. The Sum of All Fears? Garbage, just a few points above suckage. Daredevil? Dare I watch this again? Argo? How did he win an Academy Award for that borefest?
Point being? Ben Affleck is hit or miss for me. His record with me prior to this film? 3-4. Granted, Good Will Hunting was so awesome I could probably count that as two points in the win column but the fact remains that some Affleck movies I just plain hate. Affleck’s face wasn’t going to turn me away from this film though and I’m happy it didn’t.
I can’t say anymore without spoiling so if you haven’t seen it, stop here. Got to see it before you read this.
Affleck’s Dunne is not a likable guy. He doesn’t seem to care about anything. He’s very vocal about how much he hates his wife yet refuses to get a divorce. We find out later he’s having an affair with one of his students. He’s constantly lying to the police and his sassy twin sister, Margo (Carrie Coon), who’s very likable and a great sideshow presence. He’s not a good guy. I was convinced he did it.
In most crime movies, the writers usually try to paint the suspect as innocent and convince us of his/her innocence before taking off the mask and showing us they were guilty all along. This film took a different approach, trying to paint our suspect as a guilty, good-for-nothing, cheating husband. I was convinced he did it. Then I found out Amy Dunne was alive.
I was shocked, as I think most viewers were, because we’ve watched too many films where the guy’s guilty. He did it, the movie shows him getting off and gives us a flashback of how he did it and wraps it all up with a roll credits. Because of all of those previous viewings of similar material, we allowed ourselves to be shoehorned in our thinking. The result was a Oscar-worthy film that surprised, thrilled and created one of the most creepy characters of all-time.
If Rosamund Pike doesn’t win the Oscar for Best Actress, the whole awards ceremony is a bunch of baloney. I’ll never look at Pike again without thinking of her role as Amy Dunne. She is a maniacal, control freak, killer psychopath and I never saw it coming. Even when it was revealed that she had set her husband up for murder, I was like, “Well, that’s not really how you should deal with a cheating spouse but okay.” Only when the facade of amazing Amy was beginning to wither did I realize that Amy Dunne was indeed amazing, but not in the context that I thought. She was always one step ahead of everyone. Her journalistic abilities to read and sway the court of public opinion were mesmerizing and her delivery was cutthroat (PUN). Amy Dunne was one to be feared.
Affleck was great, but Pike was, dare I say, legendary. This was one of the best character portrayals by an actress I’ve ever seen and I definitely did not expect such an example from Pike. I hadn’t seen enough of her to determine her potential, but I never would have thought she could have pulled off something like this. This role could turn Pike into one of the leading ladies on the Hollywood strip for the next decade. Time will tell but I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on her.
The complementary roles were solid, especially Tyler Perry bringing another serious role to the table. I was just so blown away by how this film was able to sway the audience and myself like puppets. They got us rooting for Nick’s guilty verdict and then we were rooting for Amy’s imprisonment. It led me around like a dog chasing a bone and I wasn’t even mad about it. It was incredible. It really showed how the media can brainwash your thinking if you don’t maintain neutrality.
Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.
80-89 It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cabin in the Woods, Tears of the Sun, Edge of Tomorrow, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Young Guns)
50-59 This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The Expendable 3, Homefront, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Vantage Point, The Starving Games)
40-49 This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Billy Madison, A Haunted House, 300: Rise of an Empire, Cowboys and Aliens)
30-39 Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (Centurion, Planet of the Apes, Stonados, Redemption, Pride and Prejudice)
0-19 Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Gallowwalkers, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Safe, Watchmen, Clash of the Titans)
My score for Gone Girl: 98.
David Fichter’s latest venture Gone Girl should expect a few Oscars at this year’s ceremony and Gillian Flynn should expect to sell a few million more copies of her book because with two great leads and great direction, Gone Girl is bound to be one of the greatest films of 2014.