As both a book and a movie, Gone Girl is not for the faint of heart. It’s gritty, intense, and not your typical narrative about marriage. Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy (Rosamund Pike) have been together for years and their anniversary is coming up once again. Having recently moved back to Nick’s childhood town in Missouri from New York City, their relationship has become strained. Nick owns the local bar with his sister and Amy is a housewife, a role to which she is unaccustomed. Her parents are the authors of the once-popular book series Amazing Amy, the main character of which is based on Amy herself – or at least, a better version of Amy, according to her parents. So when Amy disappears on their wedding anniversary, Nick is thrown into a tailspin and finds himself suspected of murder.
Confession time: halfway through the book, I hated it aside from a writing ability that kept me reading. By the end, I thought it was well-crafted. I felt a bit the same about the movie. Not that I hated it halfway through, but the crafting of the movie impressed me more so than the characters or story itself. I happened upon a good article by The Guardian about the plot(holes) in the story – while they talk specifically about the movie, it is relevant to both the book and film. In sum, the entire story is great in a psychoanalytical, thriller sense, but it is less solid realistically. I’ll let you read more about that if you want for the sake of leaving out spoilers in this post. This does not mean I thought the acting was bad – in fact, I thought it was very well acted. Pike in particular was chilling and distant as Amy.
The best part of the movie was the cinematography. Simply the look of the movie put me in the story. While it’s nothing that hasn’t already been widely discussed, a particular scene towards the end of the film between Amy and Desi (played by Neil Patrick Harris) was particularly jarring. Camera angles are everything, and they got it right with that scene. To avoid spoilers once again, I’ll hand off detailing of that scene to an article in Entertainment Weekly in which they talk to cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth about how they set up that scene. It truly impressed me how thought-out their preparation was.
It’s difficult to discuss too much about a film like this because, as a movie, it is so reliant on twists that catch the audience off guard. Rather than assume everyone who will see and read this has already seen the film and/or read the book, I prefer to try and keep my commentary more general. Overall, it’s a good movie, but not one that everyone will like, simply because of subject matter. It’s dark and gritty and gets its reputation from an unreliable narrator and unhappy characters, none of whom are really in any way likable. In short, it’s not exactly a date-night movie, but it is a film that is interesting to watch.