There’s no doubt about it – Any David Fincher aficionado will go crazy for Gone Girl. For two and a half hours, the viewer is taken on a captivating journey into the dark depths of a modern day marriage and into the souls of two equally narcissistic, cowardly and profoundly messed up individuals. Amazing Amy disappears on the morning of the Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. No message, no phone call, no information on where she has gone, or why. Thus begins Nick Dunne’s frantic search to find his damsel in distress… or does it?
Sadly not. Once again and as always, David Fincher has the viewer wrapped around his finger and we are merely his puppets. As the mystery unfolds, we find out that the answer, if one has paid attention, was quite clear. The viewer has been tricked into believing that there were genuine victims, cares and dangers in this story, and that the people that we see are people of integrity. But really, Amy Dunne had fooled us all.
The truth is that Gone Girl is not a Whodunit, or any kind of classic thriller. Fincher’s latest masterpiece denounces narcissism and arrogance while painting a dark and rather misanthropic picture of modern relationships. The film focuses on manipulation, power and loyalty and we realize that the sheer brilliance of the film does not lie in the (jaw dropping, no less) plot twist, but in the profound analysis of human nature made by the dream team, Flynn and Fincher.
If the viewer has feelings of discomfort or uneasiness at any given moment, this is because it is working: David Fincher has made his point, and is mocking you. The director condemns not only his characters but to a wider extent any person who may have been confronted with these vices in their own lives. His characters are portrayed by first class actors. We have nice guy Ben Affleck, Bond girl Rosamund Pike and How I Met Your Mother pseudo womaniser Neil Patrick Harris. In the real world, combining these three could make for a pleasant rom-com to watch on a Sunday night. But in Gone Girl, each one of these stars is pushed to their limits and is compelled to be as detestable as humanly possible. There is no hero in Gone Girl, no one to root for.
Nick is a slimy, shifty human being who clearly cannot get anything right. He has failed at being a nice guy, a clever guy, a cool guy, he is merely a shell of a man. Ben Affleck becomes the most infuriating and shameful man on screen. His lack of any form of virtue leaves us with a character that is void of any substance, and yet endlessly fascinating. Amy Dunne seems to be, with her endless list of degrees and good looks, the perfect human. And yet, Rosamund Pike delivers a brilliant performance, playing one of the best female “bad guys” in Hollywood cinema. A cold, twisted, hypnotizing character which should be far more prominent in the film adaptation. Neil Patrick Harris follows the logic in terms of characters by portraying a needy, shallow and mysterious ex-lover. An intriguing and complex character that marks an interesting turning point for the actor.
Gone Girl stands out not only by its intriguing dissection of the human mind, but also by the technical prowess that it demonstrates. Each shot is cut, filmed and styled to perfection and it is clear to see that every fraction of the frame has been meticulously planned out. Staying loyal to his A-team, Fincher reaches out to Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor in order to create an original score that will not only emphasize the tension of the images, but also add another unique thread of intensity to the precisely woven patchwork of the film.
This is a film that mimics the most powerful drugs – imagine going through the motions while on the most powerful anesthetic. Gone Girl plays with you, criticizes you and everything you represent. It denounces today’s era and urges you to go past what you see and what you think you are. Banish the ideals provided by appearances, and trust no one.
Originally published on Epigram