Merry Christmas everyone! I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Christmas.
A friend recommended I check out Gone Girl. He had read the book and watched the movie and was very pleased with both. I had only heard about this movie, saw it in some previews like Entertainment Weekly (but still didn’t read the articles), David Fincher and saw that it had Ben Affleck in it. If I’m being honest, I didn’t really care for what Ben Affleck was doing before he would debut as the Bat in 2016.
And that’s another case of my dumb ignorance.
Gone Girl, as supported by the hype and reviews, was an incredible movie. It was stylish, beautifully and magnetically acted, and the story was so damn entertaining. Here’s a relatively spoiler free review.
If you are uninitiated with the premise, please watch the movie first before reading this review. Going into it dry is honestly the best way to go about it. This review will be try to be spoiler free, but I’ll probably bring things up that might stay with you as you watch the movie. Reading this will probably be raising your suspicions when you finally decide to watch it.
Initial Boredom Led to Intense ‘WTF’ing
I had minimal to no idea what this movie was about going into it. This is my normal level of philosophy when going into most movies. Reading a book that the movie is based on before hand is different from watching trailers and reading ‘spoiler free’ reviews. If you’ve read the book, I’m sure you were paying attention to the entire set up. From the haunting monologue in the beginning to the initial investigation. As for me, I was in, I guess I’ll call it a skeptical, state of mind. “What’s the trick?”, “where’s this going?”, “who is this guy?”, “when are we?”, “why is nothing happening?”.
Then the climax of the movie occurred. The realization of what it all was leading to. My brows furled, I quietly mouthed ‘what the fuu–‘, I didn’t know what to do with my hands, I turned left and right. In short: I absolutely lost my shit. Maybe it’s an over reaction. But that’s why I’m glad I went in ‘dry’. I didn’t know it would be this kind of movie. And after the climax it became an entertaining game of cat and mouse that benefitted well from the beginning exposition in the monologue and rising action.
Rosamund Pike Was Hauntingly Incredible
What helped me lose my shit was how absolutely magnetic Rosamund Pike was. I read on IMDB that she was specifically chosen because of ‘timeless’ features. And I have to agree. She was a bombshell Bond villain in Die Another Day twelve years ago and she’s still gorgeous. I had honestly only seen her in Die Another Day and The World’s End, so I wasn’t entirely convinced that she would do as much heavy lifting. God I was so wrong.
She plays herself in different time periods, each distinct with a lustful youth, a charismatic newly wed, an irritated wife, or a brooding spouse. Pike narrates a lot of story, explaining pertinent backstory specifically designed to make us pick a side in the movie’s conflict. But as we learn more about her complex character, we become cognizant in whether or not to trust our narrator. This conflict within ourselves helped unsettle us. This is further enforced with the man behind the camera.
David Fincher Knows How to Unsettle an Audience
Responsible for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Fight Club, and Se7en, David Fincher is more than capable in delivering a movie with an eerie tone. But unlike those movies, someone who isn’t initiated with the story wouldn’t really understand the tone required to execute this story. I didn’t read the book so I don’t know if the pages reflected how dark and creepy the movie was, but we can all thank Fincher for delivering on translating it or making it his own.
The score is first thing that sticks out when it comes to delivering the tone. I’m not much for technical turns, so when I say it ‘had that mix of dark wub wubs and low pitched screeching that put you on edge for certain scenes’, please try to understand what I’m saying. The movie can also escalate into violence without preparing its audience. The wub wubs and screeching help set the tone, but a burst of violence is ultimately the card that puts you over. Both low pitched and high pitched, “WHAT THE FU-” moments will be had. The final thing I can think of is the emotional imagery used. Characters breaking down emotionally are testaments to actors, writers, and directors. Although Rosamund Pike was a big part of it, her supporting players did their part. I’ll give a special shout out to Carrie Coon who played Ben Affleck’s sister. She kept a lot of the movie grounded for me in terms of someone who wants to trust the protagonist, but is skeptical.
The Concepts of Tragedy Stay With You
This movie is a tragedy. Beautifully tragic. It’s pretty clear David Fincher is attracted to tragic stories. Se7en, Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fight Club, etc. They all ended on tragic notes. This one isn’t that different. Though how the audience interprets the tragedy is largely up to them. The themes set in the beginning resonate with the ending. As I saw the movie go full circle, I kinda sat back and thought about incredible the ending was. You think about how powerless the protagonist was in the end and it’s pretty sickening.
- Rosamund Pike delivers
- Eerie tone is unsettling
- The game of cat and mouse is thrilling
- You’ll be confused with who you’re rooting for throughout the movie
- Is the movie still as good if you’ve read the book?
- It probably is. I’m grasping for straws here.