Ok Affleck you have a choice. You can either be in the top 25 percent of actors or the top 5 percent of directors. Choose Wisely.
“Gone Girl” is a testament to marriage and trust in only the way that David Fincher could tell it. Based on the novel of the same name it stars Ben Affleck as a husband whose wife goes missing on their 5th anniversary, and the mystery that unspools around them as suspicion starts to arise around him. The movie then twists and turns its way through finding out what really happened and we get to come along for the ride. And what a ride it is.
If nothing else this is a captivating movie. Gillian Flynn, who wrote both the original novel as well as this screenplay, has crafted a really intriguing story and plot that weaves in and out of truth and deceit in a way that always has something new to discover. Every movie like this has secrets to tell, but Gone Girl does a great job of not holding them too long or making them too central to the experience. So when we discover new information it feels fresh and valuable to understanding both the story we are being told and the characters in it. Speaking of which, the acting in this is really good. Affleck works really well in movies like this where he doesn’t have to do too much, but the standout is Rosamund Pike whose portrayal of his wife is absolutely breathtaking. It’s a role that demands a lot, and she manages to grab it all and make it her own. She is the Gone Girl at the center of it all, and the movie primarily succeeds on her back. The movie also sounds great with a brilliantly unsettling score by Trent Reznor. Of course, not to take too much away from director David Fincher, who continues to combine darkness and edge to modern movie making in a distinctive and yet modern way. Make no mistake this is more “Fight Club” Fincher than “Social Network” Fincher, fully embracing his willingness to get gritty and dark to tell the story he wants to tell.
Maybe even to the movie’s detriment a bit. There were moments where Fincher’s touch felt a bit too forced for me, where the brooding pacing and disturbing images distracted from the powerful story and performances. It feels like the movie could have been about 30 minutes shorter, tightening up the pacing, while at the same time keeping enough of the atmosphere to make it work. Even so, it’s a testament to the story crafting and movement that the length and prolonged darkness really was only a minor annoyance overall.
At the end of the day, “Gone Girl” reveals David Fincher at his Finchiest, telling an incredible story with a unsettling and measured touch. Even if that distinctive hand does go a bit overboard at times, the expert craftsmanship and stunning performances won’t let it go away with less than an A-