Movie Review: Gone Girl (2014) Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike

Gone Girl still ben affleck

A marriage breakdown film that could keep audience on the edge of their seats

(WARNING: This review contains major spoilers. If you have not seen this film, you may skip to the bottom for the summary.)

Directed by the brilliant David Fincher (The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fight Club, Alien) with the screenplay written by Gillian Flynn herself (the author of the novel the film is based on), Gone Girl is perhaps the most entertaining marriage breakdown thriller film ever. How often do we get to say that? Almost never. The story starts off with the mysterious disappearance of Nick Dunne’s (Ben Affleck) wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), on their fifth wedding anniversary. Flashbacks show how the couple met and had an apparently perfect relationship before going through a rough patch.

Nick soon becomes a target suspect when the media turn their attention towards his unacceptably laid back behaviour. It is also later revealed that Nick has been having an affair with his college student Andie (Emily Ratajkowski). He must have murdered his wife, or did he? Only his twin sister Margo (Carrie Coon) believes he didn’t, but he lies to her as well. Even if the audience already knew that Nick’s innocent, the story has a strong compelling hook that keeps the film thoroughly intriguing and engaging with twists and turns while it gets more disturbingly creepy and darkly humourous at the same time. The story also subtly but intelligently explores the realistic themes of dishonesty, economy, society stereotyping and media influence, all of which that lead to the cause and effect of Nick and Amy.

Ben Affleck Rosamund Pike Gone Girl still

Yes, Nick is an unfaithful husband, but Amy’s the ultimate villain of the story. Rosamund Pike (The World’s End, Jack Reacher) gave the performance of her career as the scary psychopathic type-A crazy bitch who plots to frame Nick for her apparent death by staging a fake crime scene and placing false evidence for the police to discover. Ben Affleck’s (Runner, Runner, Argo) portrayal of the spontaneously laid back Nick, who gradually becomes frustrated and in fear, is so natural and real that I could feel myself behaving like him if I was in his shoes. Then there’s also the most creepy Neil Patrick Harris performance ever, as Desi, Amy’s wealthy but obsessed ex-boyfriend who wants to possess her.

However, it’s not to say that the film couldn’t be any tighter. The character Tanner Bolt, played by Tyler Perry (The Single Moms Club, A Madea Christmas), is a cool defense attorney whom Nick hires but not used enough in the film. What’s the point of forking out $100,000 retainer fee that he couldn’t afford then? Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens), who’s in charge of investigating the case, gives up on proving Amy’s guilt way too easily at the end and nobody extends further help to Nick. Only in such stereotypical societies would the police simply believe every word of an apparently victimised woman.

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Shouldn’t the evidence that Amy created against Nick be revisited by the cops? Like her fake diary that claims that she’s so afraid of her husband that she bought a gun, the false pregnancy before disappearance (and how’s she so sure that she’d get pregnant later?), all the stuff she bought, and Desi’s CCTV tapes on days she doesn’t look even a tiny bit distressed? Well, this is just me nitpicking. It’s actually more disappointing that the film has to end. It’s so fun to watch that I was hoping that the couple would have a strategic go at each other again for at least another hour. But I guess I do prefer this ending compared to the novel’s.

The cinematography by Jeff Cronenweth (Hitchcock, The Social Network, Fight Club) is as dark-stylish as always. The music are composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who scored David Fincher’s previous two films (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Social Network). It’s right up Reznor’s alley with the kind of electronic dark ambient music that he and his long-time industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails are stylistically known for. Possibly contenders again for the Best Original Score, which the pair won at the 83rd Academy Awards for The Social Network.

With all that being said, Gone Girl is a masterpiece of a thriller and will definitely be remembered as one of the best films directed by David Fincher. It wouldn’t be a surprise if it garners a large number of nominations this coming awards season.

Gone Girl meme Rosamund Pike

What I would’ve named the film: “Gone Case Girl”

Censorship in Malaysia: The version that’s shown here is the international edit. The camera focus of scenes with kissing, nudity or sex are panned and zoomed away. To me, it didn’t affect the story at all but then again, the impact is probably weakened at least by a little. Read more here. Most guys would want to watch the original edit anyway for the hot Emily Ratajkowski (one of the topless babe in Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines music video).

Second opinion: My girlfriend agreed that it’s a darn good film and she didn’t want it to end either while praising Rosamund Pike’s performance, saying that she’s perfect for the role.

Verdict: Hands down, one of the best year 2014 films released in Malaysia thus far.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

Gone Girl movie poster malaysiaBased on: Gillian Flynn’s 2012 novel “Gone Girl”
Genre: Thriller
Running Time: 149 minutes
Director: David Fincher
Screenwriter: Gillian Flynn
Cast: Ben Affleck, Emily Ratajkowski, Neil Patrick Harris, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry

Malaysia Release Date: 11 December 2014
Rated: 18
Local Distributor: 20th Century Fox Malaysia
Production: Regency Enterprises, Pacific Standard

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