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.