Reviews for Friends #8 Gone Girl

The hotly anticipated film adaptation of the hit novel, Gone Girl, is finally out! Well, hotly anticipated by everyone but me - I knew literally zero about this book / film until I saw the trailer a few weeks ago. For those others who have, like myself, been living in a bubble Gone Girl is a cynical portrait of a marriage - a grimly fascinating, starkly bleak satire of modern domestic life and the social politics of crime.

The film flits fitfully between the present and past as a complex story unfolds. Two impossibly good-looking writers, Nick and Amy Dunne, meet and marry in New York where they both enjoy successful careers. But a few years later the couple are forced to move to Nick’s home town - Missouri, not quite so glamorous - as the recession hits and Nick’s mother becomes unwell. One day, Nick returns home after an early morning drinking session with his twin sister, at the bar they own together in town, to find that his wife has disappeared. The police launch an investigation and a media circus ensures - they don’t like the look of Nick, he doesn’t seem to be emotional enough for their liking. And so obviously - he must have killed her.

The flashbacks start to step up a notch and dark truth at the heart of their relationship is slowly and oh-so-tensely revealed. We get worrying excerpts from Amy’s diary in which she describes the breakdown on their marriage, her husband’s disloyalty and apparent violence. Nick doesn’t help himself by admitting he’s been having an affair with a teenager, and the police start to uncover evidence that puts him squarely in the frame. But it transpires that Amy isn’t exactly as she seems.

The book’s author, Gillian Flynn, herself adapted her novel for the screen and the result is a high-content film packed with sharp dialogue. I found this dialogue a bit contrived at first - lots of mumbling - but later found myself enjoying the acerbic edge it gave to the scenes between the couple. With David Fincher directing the pair have expertly created a classy, snappy almost-blockbuster of a film, with typical Fincher cruelty and horror lurking beneath the many layers that make up this film and the complicated souls that inhabit it.

I must say, the casting really is excellent. Ben Affleck has really turned himself around and his performance in this challenging role is another example of his fabulous watchability. And my word, what an outstandingly chilling performance from Rosamund Pike. In this role she reminds me of a young Nicole Kidman - in fact there is a strong mood of late 80s erotic thriller at many points throughout this film. It also lends heavily from the classic noir genre, and I really liked this hybrid of moods - in fact, with that and the twisting plot, for me it felt like three different films in one. Bringing in a new batch of characters halfway through - particularly the scene stealing and genuinely funny Tyler Terry as Nick’s attorney (and the only likeable character in the film) - was a stroke of genius.

At nearly two and a half hours long, this film unexpectedly flew by - which is an achievement in itself and testament to the sustained level of threat that hummed throughout the film in it’s entirety No doubt down to an intense, atmospheric and downright frightening score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Gone Girl is a compelling, dark and gripping film which has all the hallmarks of a glossy suspense thriller but with a certain added bite, an off-piste nature that for me makes it very much like it’s unhinged, manipulative characters. Cold, hard and unforgiving, the film draws you in - but it keeps you at a distance. Whilst I did thoroughly enjoy the ride, it didn’t move or challenge me in the way I would have liked. I found I couldn’t fully connect with it - perhaps this is because I have not read the book. It probably didn’t help that I felt rather let down by the film’s ending - an implausible series of events that seemed very thin and ill-considered. Rushed.

Still, Gone Girl will thrill and disturb in equal measure. But you’ll be leaving the cinema feeling a little dirty.

 
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Reviews for Friends #4 BFI Mediatheque

The British Film Institute have installed a Mediatheque – their eighth in the UK – in the Library of Birmingham. “Have they?!” I hear you say – yes, it is true! I can’t believe it isn’t advertised more widely. If, like me, you love TV,... Continue →