Tuesday, October 21, 2014

GONE GIRL

Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike,
Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry,
Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens

"You don't know what 
you've got , 'til it's ..."


I was a bit ambivalent about this much hyped movie. Although I did not read the book by Gillian Flynn, I knew enough about the story line and it didn't strike me as being interesting. Another factor which added to my insouciance is Ben Affleck starring in the lead role. I've seen my share of his films and I've come to the conclusion that he is better suited behind the camera as a director than as the lead actor upon whose broad shoulders an entire movie would evolve around or dissolve for that matter.

In "Gone Girl", Affleck portrays what seemingly looks like an ordinary guy whose wife goes missing on the day of their 5th anniversary. Soon enough, it seems he isn't as ordinary as originally stated, Nick Dunne has secrets. I know from watching crime shows on TV that the first suspect in the disappearance of any spouse is their significant other.  True enough, the detectives zoom in on Nick Dunne as clues are unraveled and suspicions are confirmed.

The suspense factor in this cleverly directed film by David Fincher is palpable. He reveals just enough clues to the audience for them to be quite suspicious about Nick Dunne. Yet at the same time, he doesn't really outright make Nick Dunne guilty of a crime which gets murkier as the film progresses. We also learn that their marriage which looks good on paper wasn't as 'perfect' as expected. I guess no marriage is indeed perfect but the movie does project that married couples tend to showcase a different 'public' image than what really happens within the privacy of their marital union.

Of course, it would help if I had read the novel and would know in advance of the twist. This is where I believe the film lost its focus. The part where we find out what really happened to "Amazing Amy" (Rosamund Pike) and how she orchestrated the whole 'disappearance' was for me revealed way too soon. Never mind that the film runs at over 2 hours, the twist could have been handled better than it was presented in the film.

I maintain that the film is well directed and had enough suspense that one would expect from a thriller. The investigation was interspersed with a realistic angle of how quickly it turned into a 'reality show' and a media circus. Daily updates as well as the invasion of the 'suspect's' privacy were spot on. It makes you aware that behind all the incessant footage on the couples lives as shown on talk shows, there are real people who are going through enough turmoil and upheaval that the constant barrage of the TV crews on their front lawns would certainly not help them find any peace of mind.

"Gone Girl" is a dark and complex story with deeply unsettling and flawed characters. The type of story that does take a lot of mental prowess to wrap your head around because it is essentially quite creepy and disturbingly twisted. So you've been duly warned!

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