Gone Girl Review
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Director David Fincher is notorious for his dark and haunting thrillers—films like Fight Club and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which shock and horrify and absolutely captivate audiences. And that makes him the perfect choice to direct the big-screen adaptation of Gone Girl, the chilling best-seller by author Gillian Flynn.

Gone Girl tells the twisting, turning story of a wife gone missing and a marriage gone wrong. Ben Affleck stars as Nick Dunne, a bar owner in small-town Missouri whose wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), disappears on the couple’s fifth anniversary. As neighbors rally and local detectives begin their investigation, Nick finds himself caught up in the media frenzy, unsure of how to act in front of the cameras. And as clues are uncovered and secrets come to light, they all seem to suggest that Nick is responsible for his wife’s disappearance.

In the beginning, Gone Girl may seem like just another mystery—grim yet rather straightforward. But anyone who’s familiar with Fincher’s work won’t buy it—because Fincher doesn’t do simple and straightforward; he does gritty and shocking. And as the story plays out, it becomes darker and more twisted, dropping one bomb after another on the characters and their carefully constructed façades.

If you’ve read the book, you’ll know what to expect—because the screenplay (adapted by the author) generally stays true to the novel. Sure, there are a few characters missing, a few clues left out. Some of the details have been reordered, some of the deeper psychological motivations left unexplored. But the changes are minimal—and they play well, allowing just enough development while keeping the pacing swift. And even devoted fans of the book might still be shocked to see the action play out on the screen—to see just how far the characters (and their daring director) will go. After all, when you read a book, you can gloss over the difficult parts. The version that plays out in your mind’s eye can be as tame or as graphic as you want it to be. But Fincher holds nothing back, reveling in every deliciously demented detail.

The cast, meanwhile, couldn’t be better. Affleck is appropriately awkward and sometimes even wooden, adding to the character’s air of mystery. Pike is eerily cold and distant, and her transformation throughout the film is remarkable. Both help to build this disturbing tale of desperation and marital strife, while Tyler Perry and Carrie Coon (who play Nick’s lawyer and twin, respectively), put it all in perspective with their blunt and even comical observations, often pointing out what everyone in the audience is already thinking. And the cast’s performances work together with Flynn’s chilling story and Fincher’s artistic vision to create a striking film that you won’t soon forget.

Gone Girl isn’t a charming love story or a simple mystery—and, like most of Fincher’s earlier films, it definitely isn’t for the weak of heart...or stomach. But fans of the book will be satisfied by Flynn’s faithful adaptation—as well as Fincher’s talent for ratcheting up the action and suspense. And newcomers will simply be in for one dark and utterly riveting surprise.

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