Film Review: Gone Girl ★★★★★

I hate writing rave reviews. It isn’t considered ‘cool’ to admit you consider anything (whether Puccini or Pokemon) to be without fault. When you hate a movie vitriol and condemnation sprays onto the page in torrents – projectile critiquing if you will.

When a film is both fantastic and flawed you have two sides of an argument for a reader to digest agog, wondering at your artistic knowledge no doubt. However ‘Gone Girl’ has left me feeling distinctly uncool.

In fact, David Fincher’s latest thriller has reduced me to the status of a groupie-fan-girl- I shall soon be referring to him as ‘my friend Dave’ and photoshopping our pictures together whilst simultaneously writing him unsolicited emails begging on bended keyboard for a walk on role in his next masterpiece. Yes, I have become pathetic, and yes, it is that good.

When news broke that Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novel was being turned into a blockbuster I had my doubts. Most of us agree that the book is always better, and Hollywood has transformed many a good plot into pretty faces and pithy trailers.

When David ‘Fight Club’ Fincher was announced as director 99% of my qualms dissolved. This is the man who made ‘facebook’ into a five-star film, and even made Kristen Stewart semi-likeable in Panic Room. If anybody could do it he could, right?

Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

To summarise the plot would be to spoil the story, so for the ten people in the world who remain unaware of the narrative I will be short and spoiler-free. Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy (Rosamund Pike) have been married for five years, two of them happily, three of them most definitely not.

With marital troubles burning a hole is his heart Nick returns home…only to find his not-so-beloved is missing. Police see signs of a struggle, but the crime scene is suspicious. With secretive Nick as suspect number one, the first half of the movie flits between his fumbled attempts to prove innocence to the investigators, and Amy’s account of their relationship through her diary – the rise and fall of the romance.

Halfway through the movie comes the gut punch that leaves you in wide-eyed awe, with only the realisation that you know NOTHING.Affleck’s all-American schmuck is disgustingly suspicious and likeable in equal measure, a perfect foil for the Pike, whose performance is hauntingly perfect in it’s intelligence and poise.

Certainly the less starry-eyed could argue that the narrative is slow, but the pace is necessary for the tension to build to its climax before the lights of normalcy go out and plunge you into the black and red strobes of madness.

The score by Reznor and Ross undercuts the artistry of the visual direction perfectly, adding unease to the already suspicious circumstances of the disappearance of ‘Amazing Amy’.Supporting cast members Carrie Coon and Neil Patrick Harris add humanizing and skin crawling elements to the mix respectively, completing the masterpiece with a deadly flourish.

I hate that it’s perfect, but then again as Amazing Amy wouldn’t settle for being anything less.

Written by Hannah Cooper (MA Journalism student of Birkbeck College)
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