Drama / Halloween Horror Celebration III / Horror / Reviews

Gone Girl (2014) review

Gone Girl poster

Gone Girl

Starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris

Directed by David Fincher

Written by Gillian Flynn, based on her novel

What happened to Nick Dunne’s (Ben Affleck) wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike)?

Horror is defined as thus, from Dictionary.com:

an overwhelming and painful feeling caused by something frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting; a shuddering fear

That describes the film Gone Girl, directed by David Fincher (Seven, The Social Network, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo).  When I walked out of the theater this afternoon, I was revolted, shocked, and slightly terrified.  As I drove home from the theater, I came to the realization that this is a horror film.  Yes, it is disguised as a mystery thriller, but it is a horror film nonetheless.  It is a brilliant film, but it also made me feel dirty.  It is a very difficult film to watch, and old timers in the theater with me actually walked out.  When I left momentarily to use the bathroom, I saw more than one sitting on the benches outside the theater, refusing to go back in.  This is the kind of film that David Fincher has made.  This is what Gone Girl is.  Be warned.

Nick Dunne leaves for work one morning and gets a call that his cat is outside.  He returns home to find the door wide open, and entering the residence, he finds his wife is gone and a broken table in the living room.  He calls the police, who launch an investigation.  Soon, he is the primary suspect in their search for the body of his wife, who they believe has been killed.

To go into this film, it is best to know nothing at all.  Other than the initial trailer that released, I knew nothing about this film.  I knew it was a mystery, and the looming question was ‘Did Ben Affleck’s character kill his wife?’.  That was all I knew of the film.  What you get is actually much more, and it is much more frightening than anything you can imagine.  Sadly, to talk more of the plot described above would be to go into spoiler territory, and I will not do that until the Blu-Ray release.

Gone_Girl_movie_photoFincher has crafted another masterpiece of a film.  The man has yet to make a bad film (and yes, I do count Alien 3).  Even his films I am not that impressed with (I am looking at you, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) are extremely well made; tight, taught thrillers made by a master film maker.  This is no exception.  Throughout the two and a half hour runtime, I was constantly questioning everything.

One of the things that Fincher and Affleck did extremely well was make Nick an unlikable fellow, which adds to the mystery of the film.  Did he murder his wife?  Is he innocent and just a questionable sort?   What really is going on here?  I questioned everything, and Fincher gave nothing away.  I had absolutely no idea what was going on; who did what and where.

 It is not a perfect film, though, as there are a couple leaps of logic that make no sense, including the Neil Patrick Harris character.  While I cannot go into details regarding him and his connections in the film, it certainly felt odd that he would be here.  Of course, his creepy performance takes Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother and adds a layer of crazy and obsessed.  On the show it was funny.  In this, it takes a darker turn (and no, I am not giving anything away, so don’t think you know what’s up).  This is a character I’ve not seen him play and it is kinda creepy.  This is not Harold and Kumar creepy; this is a genuinely goosebump-inducing performance.

Watch Rosamund Pike in this film.  When Oscar season rolls around, she will be talked about, if not nominated.  And she should be.  While I cannot discuss her performance in detail, just remember that I mentioned it in this review.

Ok, with the actual review out of the way, it is time for some personal reflection.  I went to see this solo.  My wife was home with our four year old, and she let me have a little alone time to go check out a movie.  The choices were this or Annabelle.   You know what I chose.  As I watched the film, I found that I never questioned my marriage.  I couldn’t relate to the characters in the film.  As I drove home though, a little shaken by what I had just seen, I did start thinking.  While I still could not relate, I found myself questioning what I might do in similar circumstances.  I’m sure you will, as well.  And that is a sign that Fincher has once again made more than a film.  More than art.  He has crafted a piece of conversation; a starter for husband and wife.  He has created something that will live on.

While the film may not be enjoyable, on an aesthetic level,it is an expertly crafted thriller, a horror film for the upscale crowd who look down on the standard terror of Freddy or Jason or Jigsaw.  Do not be fooled, either.  This is a horror film.  It just eschews the usual trappings of the genre and elevates it to an art form that is able to disguise itself as another genre altogether.  It is not for the faint of heart, though.  This is a date film for those who want a divorce.

*** out of ****

BIZZAM!! Fun Facts!

  • Tyler Perry, who plays Tanner Bolt in the film, was not aware who David Fincher was.  He stated that he would not have accepted the role had he known.  How could Perry, a director himself, not know who David Fincher was?  He does turn in a stunning performance, though, despite never being dressed as Madea.

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