Monday, 6 October 2014

Gone Girl (2014)

This starts out feeling like a straight-forward, familiar, slightly underwhelming missing person mystery. But, as anyone who has watched enough David Fincher films might know, his films usually have a bit more tucked up their sleeve and this is no exception as it turns into a fascinating twisted relationship drama/thriller with a creature at the heart of it, justifying it's two-and-a-half hour run-time in the process.

Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck with some added Batman buffing up) returns home one day to find his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone and that there are signs of a struggle in the house. This attracts the attention of both the police and media, which only intensifies when Nick becomes the prime suspect only little can be done without a confession or the victim's body. And I won't say more, instead leaving you to enjoy how the film plays out from there. Unless, of course, you've read the book (though I hear there have been some changes) or already seen the film.

The marketing for this film does a good job at not giving too much away, though it didn't really convince me the film was worth watching. The early parts of the film did little to change my lack of enthusiasm for what I was watching. It starts with blink-and-you'll-miss-them credits and scenery shots with was a little off-putting and then slows down a bit when it starts with the films set-up before then proceeding onto the early did he or didn't he part. Generally, this part of the film was put together decently and keeps you occupied but it felt like this was going to be one of Fincher's lesser films (though still one that is better than 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button') and a rather indifferent mystery film.

Happily, I was wrong and the start of the film was laying the necessary foundation for a delightfully satisfying pay-off, with a touch of dark comedy stemming from its wry approach to the subject. It's almost a reverse to Fincher's 'The Social Network' which petered out in the latter stages.

'Gone Girl', when it does get going, does feel like the sort of film Fincher is more suited to making. That said, 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' was ripe for him to adapt but, while he does do a good job overall with the material, he did kind of mess up a couple of parts (most notably the ending that undermines the whole film - at least in my opinion). This time, however, he gets the film to work (it probably helps to have the author of the book work on the screenplay). It's dark, it's intriguing, and it's very absorbing. I didn't feel that it was stretched or padded out at the 150 minutes it is (well, 149 according to IMDb). It uses the time effectively to cover the plot and look at these characters who are effected by the false ideas of a fairy-tale life forced onto them and trapped/dictated by public opinion and their public image. There is also the added boost of the cast delivering uniformly strong performances (I was particularly impressed by Rosamund Pike).

The film was a riveting watch, to put it simply. It's also far superior to Affleck's own missing person mystery 'Gone Baby Gone' (I had to bring that up at some point). I would have liked to expand more on the film but it's perhaps best to not say much about what happens. Better to just go out and watch it.

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