Gone Girl (2014)

After The Social Network and a remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, David Fincher is back with an adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel Gone Girl. Focusing on the complexities of a relationship, Gone Girl tells the tale of Nick and Amy Dunne, a couple whose marriage is thrust into the spotlight when Nick returns home one morning to find his wife gone. Cue a nationwide search, a media frenzy, a treasure hunt and some atypical spousal behaviour which leaves the town – including the police – wondering whether there’s more to Nick’s story than meets the eye. Just how involved is he in the disappearance of his wife?

Now, David Fincher has directed some big movies in the past, with star-studded casts, but none have, perhaps, been as highly anticipated as this examination of a modern relationship. Equally, the acting duo chosen by Fincher to bring Flynn’s pages to life, Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, had a sizeable task on their hands as soon as the novel became a number one best-seller. Pike had yet to make a big splash in Hollywood, and Affleck has always been a bit underrated as an actor, and so, with this healthy dose of pressure, how do the trio fair? To cut a long story short, pretty well.

True to form, Gone Girl is stylishly shot, dark and deliciously moody, with Fincher teasing us with what appears to be 50 shades of green. The first half of the movie works brilliantly as the police and Affleck search for clues to uncover this thrilling mystery. It’s smart, precise, sexy and assured – perhaps mimicking the early phases of the couple’s tumultuous relationship – and Affleck and Pike are superb in their respective roles. The film, however, begins to come apart as we start to discover the truth about Amy’s disappearance, and it’s here that Gone Girl takes a turn for the absurd, with no sign of abating.

It’s worth mentioning that Flynn, the novel’s author, is also on board here as the screenwriter, but, sadly, the narrative of this adaptation isn’t wholly satisfying. While it’s true that a human being has a thousand faces, it’s impossible to swallow everything Flynn is trying to feed us about the institution of marriage and human standards when parts of the narrative are, quite frankly, ludicrous.

In spite of this, though, Gone Girl is still worth the trip to the cinema. It’s just a film that, upon reflection, irritatingly, frustrates as much as it excites.