GONE GIRL – Review by Susan Granger

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Utilizing Gillian Flynn’s savvy, streamlined screen adaptation of her 2012 best-seller, director David Fincher has created an intense Hitchockian thriller – with an innocent man accused, a coolly elegant platinum blonde, psychologically complex characters who cannot be trusted and constant suspense as the mystery unfolds. Since I had not read the novel, the bizarre plot twists and turns took me by surprise. Yet what’s most impressive is the cinematic artistry of the entire cast and production team. Read on…

Ben Affleck is totally convincing as bewildered Nick Dunne, whose beautiful wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), inexplicably disappears on the morning of their fifth anniversary. She’s a Harvard-educated, best-selling children’s author, a literary celebrity who moved with him to Missouri after they both lost their writing jobs in Manhattan. Seeking solace with his twin sister, Margo (Carrie Coon), with whom he owns a local bar, Nick grimly struggles to figure out what might have happened, along with Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens). All he knows is that he came home to find a smashed coffee-table and his wife missing. As the dogged investigation proceeds, details about perfectionist Amy’s past and the fragile state of her marriage to Nick are revealed – with everything pointing to his guilt -particularly after Amy’s parents arrive from New York.

David Fincher (“The Social Network,” “The Fight Club”) is a stickler for detailed authenticity, keeping the alleged crime scene pristine as participants painstakingly track down multiple whodunit clues within the perspective-shuffling structure. As partners in this rumination on contemporary marriage, Affleck is amiably opaque, while Rosamund Pike is inscrutably enigmatic. So who’s the real sociopath? Tyler Perry scores as the slick defense attorney who takes Nick’s case, coaching him on how to manipulate the media. And Neil Patrick Harris is solid as Amy’s snide, suspiciously creepy ex-boyfriend.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Gone Girl” is a dark, tension-filled 10. Those who have read the book tell me Gillian Flynn tweaked the ending’s timeline which may or may not satisfy purists. But I can already hear Oscar buzz.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.