Anticipation: 5/5 It’s Fincher!
Final Verdict: 3/5 But it isn’t Fincher at his best…
Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) becomes the prime suspect in the investigation of his missing wife, Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike). Is he guilty or did his wife disappear and frame him for her murder? Gone Girl doesn’t know what kind of film it wants to be. A whodunnit, suspense, social critique (media or marriage), satire… Not that it must be just one of those genres, but it should at least try to get one of them right. As the first shots grace the screen, it becomes obvious that Fincher is painting by numbers on this one.
As the film moves through its unnecessarily long running time (it’s Fincher, but it usually doesn’t feel tedious), the paint by numbers starts to dry and so does any interest the audience has for where the Dunnes’ relationship is headed and how their pseudo-psychotic/sociopathic behavior ends in a media driven stalemate. I feel sorry for how Mid-Westerners are portrayed in the film. Small town mentality exists, but by categorizing the population as a seemingly uneducated bunch craving their little bit of “reality TV” attention, Gone Girl goes beyond overstating the obvious to the point where it becomes insulting to the viewers (New Yorkers criticizing people from outside New York? Yawn…).
For the third time in a row (The Social Network, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Fincher recruits Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to write the soundtrack. The music is annoying, always out of place. Apparently that’s what Fincher wanted, therefore I guess there’s little to say except, it works.
On a positive note, the film looks great. The camera work is precise and lean, even though the images seem divorced from what the plot line is trying to convey. The acting is also precise, but there is absolutely no chemistry between Affleck and Pike. Even at the beginning of their relationship, the Dunnes come across as an unlikely couple. This may be warranted given the outcome of the film, however, something doesn’t quite gel between the actors. The stand out performance comes from a stepping-out-of-his-Madea-comfort-zone, Tyler Perry who plays Tanner Bolt, Nick Dunne’s lawyer. Perry’s suave and easy-going demeanor is fantastic and he should consider showcasing his natural talent in bigger budget films more often (His line: “You two are the most fucked up people I’ve ever met” was delivered with such brutal honesty that it could only generate empathy).
With all its Hitchcockian The Lady Vanishes aspirations, with Gone Girl Fincher does nothing but feed filmgoers a series of social and media clichés. Regardless of what most critics are saying, Gone Girl feels lazy. Paint by numbers may look good, but it’s far from being creative. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was a far more satisfying adaptation. Perhaps the fault lies in the source material this time around. Three out five stars is because I love Fincher films. As a result, I’m willing to let this one slide. After all, much like the Dunnes… everyone needs a break from time to time.
Gone Girl trailer
Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes
Screen Junkies Honest Trailer for Gone Girl
Here is David Jenkins Little White Lies favorable Review of Gone Girl