Gone Girl (2014)

Thanks to Yelp, I was able to see an advanced screening of Gone Girl last night. SO the advanced screening folks issued way too many tickets for the screening and I was turned away despite turning up really early. So mad. A lot of folks were mad. I was one of them. SO MAD. But I got to go to a theater with reclining seats (!!!) to watch with my parents today so it all turned out well in the end!

As per usual, I did not read this book before watching the movie. Long story short, I get to enjoy the movie without knowing how it’ll end or how it deviated from the book.

I like this poster, although it’s not what I expected because it looks almost nothing like the book cover.

I’ll admit, I didn’t understand why people were getting so excited about this movie. Not being part of a book fandom will do that to you, I guess. Reviews started pouring in and everyone was raving about the movie, so I went in with fairly high expectations. I’m also a really big fan of David Fincher, the director, so I was ready for a ride.

And boy did I get it.

What a roller coaster of emotions. With the greys between villain and victim, Gillian Flynn (author of the book and the screenwriter) paints this incredible portrait of how many people doing the wrong thing turns into a sh*tstorm, to say the least. The plot takes you for a ride, with plot twists cropping up every which way. It is really enjoyable if you haven’t read the novel, because then the twists really surprise you. There were several points near the middle/end of the film where I thought it was over but then BOOM MORE STUFF IS GOING ON, IT AIN’T OVER JUST YET.

What kind of man smiles at a press conference announcing that his wife is missing? A sociopath? A bundle of camera-shy nerves? Both? Neither?

Some spoiler-free points:

  • While I do love Fincher’s work, I would like to see him do more with color. He uses this muted color palette so often in his films (see The Social Network, Fight Club, Se7en, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, etc.) and I want to see him and his cinematographers play with COLOR more. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by Zhang Yimou and Brian Fuller, but I think he can do it.
  • I like Ben Affleck in general as a person and as a director, but I’m really just not hot on him as an actor. I don’t know, he often plays these characters where things happen to him, which doesn’t require too much on his part as an actor, and even then it just falls short. I’m kind of over Ben Affleck as an actor, and I’m really curious about what he’ll bring to the table as Batman because… I don’t know, I always feel underwhelmed.
  • On the other hand, I really liked the casting of Rosamund Pike. I’ve only seen a few of her movies, and her characters usually don’t have too much depth in those movies. Bond girl. Bennett sister. But here, I got some new things from her, namely:
    • An American accent, which is new to me and done well
    • More depth and breadth to her character, which she also does well
    • She is amazing in Gone Girl. She is about to become HUGE in Hollywood because of this role, and rightfully so.
  • Neil Patrick Harris does a great job in his role as the maybe stalker ex-boyfriend. He manages to play on the edge of concerned and obsessed so well. You never quite knew which he was, and that was extremely unnerving. Although it gets overlooked often, I think he did the same with Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother: you were never totally sure where he stood morally, and there was something about the way he carried himself where you felt at ease with him most of the time but in the back of your mind you worried about him because you knew deep down you couldn’t 100% predict his next move. So good.

    Extra unnerving for me considering I haven’t seen in him a non-comedic role before. Nailed it so hard.

In fact, I would argue that what is great about Gone Girl, as is usually the case with many David Fincher films, is that it is really difficult to put a character in a box. Their moral character, as is the case with real people, is not clearly defined. These folks live in the greys between right and wrong, and the film was done in a way that, even as I was leaving the theater, I didn’t know who was the “good guy” or the “bad guy”. Add in the great unreliable narration written in by Gillian Flynn, as both the book and film are told from two characters at odds with each other and who are both, as most people are, unreliable… Plus, we have the craziness of the media as a big theme in this story, and I think that comes across so well. Some of the main antagonistic forces in this movie are the sensationalizing media and the mob mentality of the people who consume those media. MMM yes so good.

… I understand why there’s SO much buzz around this movie. It is good. You don’t know what the truth is. You realize that no character knows the truth either. You understand that the truth exists outside of any single person’s story. Messy stories don’t endings tied neatly in a bow. That’s how life is, and it’s unsettling and fantastically done.

Although I wouldn’t call it one of my favorite films, Gone Girl delivers so well on what it promised.
Rating:★★★★★ 5/5
Would I recommend watching it? Yes. (Please note that there is disturbing imagery in this film that is hard to get out of your head afterwards.)

Comments with spoilers below the trailer.

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