Gone Girl review

David Fincher
Ben Affleck
Rosemund Pike
Neil Patrick Harris
Tyler Perry
Carrie Coon
Kim Dickens
Rated: R

Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne, a man who lives in the suburbs of St. Louis and is for the most part seems happy in his marriage to his wife Amy (Pike). After coming home from a visit to the bar he owns, though, he finds broken furniture and his wife missing.

Nick immediately calls law enforcement and officers and detectives, including lead investigator Rhonda Boney (Dickens), stop by the house to see what evidence they can find. The only problem, though, is that as a short time passes, both law enforcement and the media start seeing Nick as a potential suspect. And that is just the first of many twists.

“Gone Girl” is well over two hours, with a total runtime of 149 minutes, however, it earns every right to be that long. The film never feels like it’s slowing down as there continues to be twists and turns at every point throughout the film. It’s difficult to even discuss the story too much without spoiling the movie. All a person really needs to know, though, is that the movie will keep a person guessing, as it is very difficult to figure out what will happens next and what a character’s true motive is.

One aspect of the film I can discuss, though, without giving too much away is the satirical and even somewhat humorous moments that are peppered into the movie occasionally. It wasn’t as if Director David Fincher made a comedy or anything, however, he brilliantly captured the over-the-top nature of the media in situations like this and the mob mentality that can go along with it, and he did it in a very witty way, henceforth giving a couple moments where the tension was thankfully broken.

Fincher can also of course be credited for making a fantastic dramatic atmosphere in the film. The film has a bleak, grey feel to it, and that’s sort of how one feels when watching this, grey. It’s not a black and white film with obvious sides, there is a lot of grey, and Fincher and his crew craftily get that on camera.

Ben Affleck turns in a solid performance in “Gone Girl,” playing the character in a way where you almost can’t tell his guilt or what he has going on behind closed doors. His work on the film undoubtedly captures a person’s interest and holds it from beginning to end.

Rosemund Pike delivers what is probably one of her best performances to date. The audience meets her character, Amy, through a series of flashbacks by way of diary entries. What made Pike’s performance in the film so good is how she delivers her lines in this almost haunting way. It adds so much to the movie, especially in its later scenes.

The most shocking acting, though, came from Tyler Perry as a high level defense attorney. The character is very well written, capturing the attitude and arrogance that such a lawyer would have, and Perry’s acting brings that perfectly from script to screen.

Also in the supporting cast was Dickens and Coon, who played the detective and Nick’s sister, respectively. Both of them turn in commendable jobs here, as both sort of portray a person from the outside looking in. In a way, they both do a great job representing how the audience would react to what’s going on, which helped make the film more accessible.

The only real flaw in the acting, and probably the movie as a whole was Neil Patrick Harris. Harris played a character named Desi, a former friend of Amy who ended up helping with the search after she went missing. Everytime Harris was on screen, though, he seemed to stick out a bit. His character had this social awkwardness to him, and it was as if Harris was simply laying it on to thick. It’s not like the performance was bad, but it probably could have been better if it had been delivered in a more subtle approach.

That one flaw chips away at the movie’s rating a bit, but this is still a solid picture and should get attention when award season rolls around. The story is unpredictable, the characters are interesting and well acted and the atmosphere puts the audience right in the middle of the drama. High 4 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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