Written by: Eve Eckford
Edited by: Betsy Wen
Going, Going Gone
The critical review that I will be writing about is on the film Gone Girl. This film has circulated a lot of positive reviews among the film industry since its release and many critics are calling it an early favourite for the upcoming award season. Within this critical review review I intend to look at aspects of the film such as acting, storyline, directing and reoccurring themes to give my personal opinion on whether or not his film could be in the running for top honours come award season.
Directed by David Fincher and starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl is a film based on a novel by the same name written by Gillian Flynn. Set in contemporary America, more specifically Missouri and New York, the film focuses on Nick and Amy Dune, a couple who are about to celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary. Within the opening scenes of the film, it becomes clear that nick and Amy’s relationship has become stagnant. Both have become complacent in their marriage and are only going through the motions of a relationship. After complaining about the marriage to his cynical, yet caring sister, Nick returns home to an unsettling scene. Amy is nowhere to be seen and there are a few suspicious disturbances throughout the house, like a broken table and sign of struggle. This ambiguous backdrop sets the mood for the rest of the film as Nick tries to prove his innocence.Nick calls the police and it soon becomes apparent that he is the main suspect due to his calm and cold demeanour and his apparent limited knowledge about his wife’s life. Through a series of flashbacks and hidden clues, Nick is plunged into a world of suspicion and intrigue that captures the attention of the nation. The prevalent question of “where’s Amy?” rings throughout the film as Nick tries to persuade his guilt and find his wife. By Nick’s own admission things were not going well, and after a slough of financial and personal problems between them, the line between innocent and guilty becomes heavily blurred; leaving the viewer to question the real truth about what happened to Amy.
One extremely strong aspect to this film is the adaptation from novel to film. This seemed to be a success with this movie because the author of the book, Gillian Flynn wrote the screenplay as well. The complex nature of the book really was represented well on screen, and I think that is because the vision of the novel was so accurately represented by someone who knew the intrinsically complex plot of the story. This being said David Fincher’s directorial style really comes through in this film and only helps to enhance the already flawless screenplay. The way that Fincher uses low lighting makes flashbacks blend seamlessly with current day and adds to the eerie nature of this movie. Fincher is known for his unique style of lighting darkness within his films and this really comes across. This specific stylistic choice can be seen when Nick and Amy first meet. The characters seem to be illuminated in smokey interior lights, which causes the rest of the picture to seem, blurred and dim. This style lends itself very well to Gone Girl because it adds another visual element of mystery and intrigue. The aura that this film creates gives an overall feeling that the characters know more than they are leading on.
The acting in this film was truly great; Affleck perfectly portrayed a cold and hardly grieving husband who leaves the viewer in doubt about his innocence. Even though this role required Affleck to be reserved and oddly unemotional, Affleck was able to breath life into a character that showed little remorse and was emotionally cut off. The most pleasant surprise for me in this movie was the amazing acting that came from Rosamund Pike portraying the sociopathic Amy. Compared to her on screen husband, Rosamund Pike is a not so well known British actress, and her performance in this film is truly a career turning point for her. I think it was a great choice to choose an actress that was not as well known because it gives the viewer an unbiased view form which to experience her character. There was a quiet undertow to her acting that pulls the audience in. As a viewer you aren’t sure whether to feel sorry for her, or if she is a calculating sociopath. There is an impenetrability to her character representation of Amy that keeps the viewer at an arms length, but in the best way possible. Pike gives off a coldness and socially cut off demeanor that gives the film life as it unfolds and the true story begins to take form. There is deadness to Amy’s character that Pike is able to expose and put out in the open. Pikes remains unconnected from not only the characters around her, but also unconnected from herself, as she is able to inflict pain on herself with little reaction. This is a career-defining role for Pike, and I think that the entire buzz around her performance is well justified and earned.
This film takes the viewer on a roller coaster ride of a declining marriage and the length that someone will go to conceal the truth. Gone Girl plays with ideas of normality and the pre conceived notions of a conventional nuclear family. Gone Girl perfectly blends the complexity of relationships and love with elements of a murder mystery. Where many movies adaptations either fall short of the novel or overshadow it completely, Gone Girl was able to blend the intricacies of a novel with a stunning visual counterpart that leaves the viewer guessing. The casting in this movie was incredibly well done and from the main characters to the supporting, I though that they all added weight and depth to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and would recommend it to people whether they have read the novel or not. Incorporating the positive reviews within the articles that I have read, this film will surely be one of the frontrunners come award season, and I think that it has earned that merit.
Lee, Chris and Stack, Tim. “Gone Girl.” Entertainment Weekly. Entertainment Weekly,
22 August 2014. Web. 16 November 2014.
Taublin, Amy. “He Said, She Said.” Film Comment. n.p. Sept/Oct2014. Web.
16 November 2014.