David Fincher has made some of the best movies of the last 20 or so years, and maybe some of the best of all-time. When I think ‘classics’, Fight Club, Se7en, and the Social Network surely come to mind. And let’s not forget outstanding efforts like Zodiac and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, as well. So give him a crime thriller, completely character-driven, with twists and turns, and a good cast…and you’ve got yourself one hell of a film, and yet another example of why he has to be considered one of the best directors in Hollywood.
Based on the best-selling novel, a Missouri man is suddenly caught in a whirlwind of accusations from local and national media when his wife goes missing. Played by Ben Affleck, we watch Nick Dunne go from loving husband, to possible murderer, and is put through the ringer on every move he makes. His sister (and only ally) is vilified, his in-laws are sure of his guilt and more or less disown him. But all the while, we’re introduced to curious clues – ones that make us question and reevaluate what we just thought was right. Lawyers come on, ex-lovers come on, and each step makes the story murkier. When the truth is revealed, it’s not the end of the movie at all, either. The brilliance is where it goes once we know what’s going to happen.
It’s no surprise that upon reading facts about Gone Girl on IMDB, it turns out Brad Pitt was considered for the lead role. Seeing as how he’s been the main character in three David Fincher movies, it’s sort of shocking we’re given Ben Affleck instead. But Affleck did well, as did Rosamund Pike – whom I’d had never heard of prior to this film. As in so many of Fincher’s movies, the supporting cast is wildly strong as well. Carrie Coon as Affleck’s sister, Kim Dickens as the local detective, and Tyler Perry as Affleck’s lawyer. Wait…what? Yes, that Tyler Perry. If a movie can make me appreciate how good Tyler Perry was, it’s automatically a huge success. Without question though, the acting was spot-on across the board. No performance struck me as Oscar worthy, and nothing completely blew me away, but with the intricate story that’s been built around the characters, you really didn’t need anything amazing.
What was best about Gone Girl was the feel of it. David Fincher has such a unique style to his directing, and you can feel it in the dark themes and dark picture (literally). You can hear it in the music (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, again), and see it in the editing. Each scene and every exchange has this wonderfully well established sense of doom and mystery. I can’t credit anyone but the man behind the camera himself. Once again, Fincher has shown how to take a crime drama and make it into something so very memorable. It’s a good sign when the running time of nearly two and a half hours doesn’t feel long at all. And as the credits began to roll, you’re left wanting even more of Gone Girl. I’d consider that a pretty huge success.
GONE GIRL: (out of 4)