My Score: 4.5/5
The genre of plot twisting psychological dramas is a very niche one. Its been a while since I have had seen a movie of that level of style and speed. In fact I do not recall enjoying any movie after Trance (The Danny Boyle film) which had such a high degree of plot twists and character turns. That all changed last night when I finally managed to catch a show of Gone Girl.
Gone Girl, based on a novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, is a story about marriage. One anniversary morning, the husband Nick Dunne (played by Ben Affleck) does his morning chores and comes back home to find his wife (Amy Elliott Dunne played by Rosamund Pike) missing. He calls the cops and participates in the investigation. However, as the story progresses, the real truth about their marriage is relieved and the real intentions behind her disappearance are unfolded in front of the media and the entire town.
Story & Direction: I have not read the novel prior to watching the movie. So, the canvas was completely blank as far as I was concerned. Gillian Flynn, the author of the book who also wrote the screenplay, obviously knew the material well and was able to present the exact chemistry of emotions and affections that we needed to have with the characters at the right moment, in the right amounts. Since the plot is really twisting and turning, without letting out any spoilers, all I can say is that your allegiance towards the primary characters in the movie change as the script moves forward. That shows some really brilliant writing and content control.
Ever since Zodiac, David Fincher has set an industry standard in terms of movie making. In Gone Girl, there is no disappointment with some really nice direction, intrigue building, staying close to the source material and some really snappy editing work. Although the movie is a long 149 minutes, the intervening of the scenes makes it a seamless experience and an enjoyable one. Barring a couple of misplaced loud background scores, the movie gels well together.
The Cast: For a movie so complex and twisty, you need to have some strong cast members to support the suspense. Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne portrays the right blend of anger, frustration, relief that is expected of a man in his situation in the movie. Ben has really come back with a bang after some really forgettable years and shows his best performance since Argo.Personally, I feel his venturing into Direction has given him the edge in acting that is commendable and grounded. Batman V Superman cannot come early enough!!
Rosamund Pike is the most interesting, rather surprising, choice to play Amy. However, as it turns out, she was the most surprising factor in the movie providing us with her best performance till date. Personally I was amazed at the depth of character she could portray. It was a nice change of pace for her and clearly something she can build on.
Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris and Carrie Coon should have special mentions as their additions seemed weird but supplemented the husband wife relationship portrayed throughout the movie!
Bottomline: A near perfect movie by the best director in the business currently. Gone Girl exemplifies the very nature of a complex American marriage system and shows how delusional perceptions can be. This is surely an Award contender and I will be surprised if it does not garner any accolades in that area.