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article imageReview: ‘Gone Girl’ is a simply masterful mystery Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Oct 3, 2014 in Entertainment
Director David Fincher’s enthralling adaptation of ‘Gone Girl,’ starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, is one of the best films of 2014.
In spite of what any couple presents to the world, no relationship is perfect. Most people hide their strife behind closed doors, until something forces it into the open and others can be heard saying, "They seemed so happy." In Gone Girl, an ideal pairing is scrutinized under the most unforgiving microscope when the man's wife goes missing under suspicious circumstances and the investigation uncovers what life in the Dunne home was really like.
On their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick (Ben Affleck) returns home to find broken furniture and no sign of his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike). He immediately calls the police, who classify the disappearance as suspect due to the state of the house and other evidence. As the investigation delves deeper into the couple’s life, it reveals they were experiencing significant problems. But did these marital issues escalate to murder? All signs point to Nick for spousal homicide, but there’s more to the story than meets the eye.
Director David Fincher is a trailblazer in the motion picture – drama category, assembling penetrating narratives that are able to sustain a level of intensity that holds audience’s interest for more than two hours (149 minutes in this case). This film is a master class in peeling away the layers of an onion and keeping the viewer guessing with every new tier. On the surface this could be a standard crime drama about an abusive relationship that ended in tragedy. But one hour into the movie, new information arises that throws everything into question. Though talking in specifics about said game changer would be an inexcusable spoiler for anyone who has not read the book.
Author Gillian Flynn adapted her own novel for the screen, which affords it a certain kinship with the source material. Thus the dissimilarities with the book are also unarguably author approved for the screen. The chronology of the narrative is relayed in terms of the amount of time Amy has been missing. As the hours turn to days then weeks, it’s easy to trace the path of the investigation and the trajectory of Nick’s presumed guilt.
The media circus that accompanies the search for Amy was invited by the family in an attempt to increase the chances of her recovery. But it quickly turns on Nick, who is depicted as the shady husband who doesn’t look distraught enough for callous TV hosts. Most of the time it looks like he’s digging his own grave, though new developments reveal he may not be the only one with a shovel.
Affleck has built his career on portraying “the every man” who is a likeable, generally trustworthy, ordinary-looking guy. This time his banal persona is dosed with some real world cynicism so that even though his character is an overall nice guy, he’s a bit of a closet sleazeball too. Pike is absolutely captivating as she absently relates the progression of Nick and Amy’s relationship via a detailed diary. Amy is the key and Pike ensures she stays front and centre for the audience.
The supporting cast includes Neil Patrick Harris as Amy’s super creepy high school boyfriend, Tyler Perry as an undiscerning defence lawyer, Kim Dickens and Patrick Fugit as the investigating officers, and Carrie Coon as Nick’s unconditionally supportive twin sister.
Fincher once again teams with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to compose the music for the picture. It’s complementary but not intrusive, and expresses the tale’s dark undertones in the moody, instrumental soundtrack.
Every moment of this film is carefully orchestrated to reflect the one prior and affect the one next, resulting in a gripping mystery and riveting movie experience.
Director: David Fincher
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris
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