Gone Girl (2014)
Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris
Director: David Fincher
Amy Dunne has disappeared. Husband Nick confesses to dreams of harming her. A dark and chilling morning follows Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne around town to a local bar. He refuses then asks for liquor in a flash of conversation from twin sister Margot. Both are writers laid off in a struggling recession. The year is 2012.
It’s Nick’s five year anniversary. Nick and Amy’s initial meeting five years ago reveals a charismatic and inquisitive communication, where both are drawn to one another from their hard stance of life. They soon lead to time between the sheets. A different type of mutual attraction on personality is all the more while rare and appealing.
Returning home to find a turned over chair, broken glass and an empty place, Nick calls in the cops. Keen eyed, the kitchen marks on a near spotless cupboard are tagged by the wide eyed detective. Nick’s nervousness shudders as a flicker through his files resonates with anyone hating their material under scrutiny.
A glimpse into the popularity of the star writer, wife Amy’s great child character “Amazing Amy” even amazes law enforcement. Realising her character is bigger than her Amy adds “Amazing Amy has always been one step ahead of me.” Her own creation is above her. During such a launch, advised to interest Bloggers, reports and the new wave of media the language is playful and prevalent. Nick adds that Amy even plagiarised herself to create the animation. Not before naughty Nick helps the interview scoop with her “world Class vagina” appraisal.
The feds don’t usually consider this an important case, but decide to take an interest this time. All the stops are pulled out including tracing all her cards, phones and details. The missing person appeal soon becomes “Find Amazing Amy” instead of Amy herself. The police are quite disturbed by Nick who fails to know his partner’s blood type. He’s also classed as type B, a placid, easy going type displaying no real dismay for his lost wife. Further adding to doubt, Nick’s temper is slightly raised with his sick father in another room by chance. Nick gets a bit annoyed with a louder voice drawing police attention.
Marriage is hard, as explained through Amy’s memoirs. She’s an imaginative mind, likely to hold a book and have no real friends. As for her love with Nick, these two are kinky. Enjoying risky, outdoor sex, with frank yet timid discussions sets their sexual tension. They even did it up the stacks of a library.
“Complicated is a code for bitch.” Amy says as later sarcastic sis Margot give a chuckle for the audience adding “she always attracts this” during her absence.
All of a sudden the nosy locals are blabbing to cops noticing the house becoming an instant hub of forensic intervention.
Rifling through her unmentionables gives us the first clue. A letter, naturally. At the missing person’s appeal Nick can’t help being no frills. “Any info, please come forward” whilst cocking an awkward smile. Short, punctual and morose. The in-laws handle it best. The website is “find Amazing Amy.”
Admirers are first on the agenda for blame. One was reported to police much to the oblivious Nick, having no clue.
Every anniversary Nick and Amy like to host treasure hunts. A riddle for her “favourite writer” to which Benji Batfleck gets early. Instead of finding his girl, the lead investigator magically appears during a resetting of entry alarms. Only Nick is sensing sirens. “Are you following me?” he questions.
As the lead money maker, Amy has a near cool one million dollars in savings, and she plans to give it to her struggling parents. They get $879 million to be precise. We are to assume Nick spent the rest on takeout, video games and a laptop. All of which items classed as bad by the authoritive state. Layabout bum Nick relies on his misses, including the bar he co-owns with sis Margot.
This is a story of how relationships easily get out of hand. So much so that Amy feels unsafe to the point she looks to purchase a gun on Valentine’s Day. Most people require a condom, but not Amy. Disparaged as being used by Nick as a sex object and burned for her money, Nick fails to give Amy her one donation. A baby. She feels unheard and invisible. A feeling she all too well used to mock others for.
Nick as we learn, however, has his own year and a half secret.
The media swarm gets its fair share of attention. One shameless female cleverly places herself into a cheeky selfie with the celebrity victim come criminal. Invading such privacy, she tells Nick she won’t be deleting that pic anytime soon, per his request. Whoops. That selfie was from a news casting journo hack. A sociopath is a lack of empathy she explains on her television news show, branding Nick exactly that. The news even go as far to stirring it up implying incest. Watchers joke and smirk at “twincest” in this unravelling tale of depravity.
Influence by media quickly causes tension among townsfolk. All the nosy neighbours look at him in pre-meditated disgust. The cops have already made up their mind. A heckler also drops another revelation to Nick during a public speech, again unbeknownst to charming Nick. One lady also eyes up being a potential replacement to the absent widower.
Amy recounts of her lazy partner taking away her dignity, hope, money and pride, “that became a murder” she adds. Constant taking and no receival has pushed the envelope too far.
Mr. Dunne is also advised to look “less wooden” in a later show to turn his image around whilst receiving his Gummi Bear training. We’ve got a pack right here for ya Benji Bear.
Lack of interest makes a key suspect. Can a good journo and the right show turn it around? Has he found the right outlet to do that? Only able to hire a hotshot lawyer with an extortionate price tag (but, hey, they’re rich) “I win the unwinnable cases” his lawyer explains. “The truth is my defence” Nick bleakly adds one time in efforts to clear his name.
Now the strength falls on Neil Patrick Harris as the main provider. As Amy’s first former love with a clearly possessive nature could there be a new twist in the tale? His bag is filled with suspicion, control and need.
A marriage built on pain is the premise of Gone Girl. A break down with such hate, many instances of deceit and a burden for love. Is this a woman who can look out for herself when all other options wrong her? Or is she a vulnerable woman scorned with a powerful brimming talent? “Just don’t piss her off.” Gone Girl could be proof that marriage can attain a stronger bond when such tragedy unfolds regardless of the outcomes.
But what precedes that with a level of self-loathing, invisibility and oblivious nature can drive further apart than together laced with sexual objectivity, debt and financial ruin.
Rosamund Pike’s portrayal of a self-confident, calculated female assured of her talents help her protect herself from problems around her. Faced with a greater risk, Pike sets into full-on mode. During the film, we have to ask, did we allow her to be forgotten? Or was it a PR stunt for attention gone wrong, which viewers may blame her for? Either way Pike has excelled in this foretelling story, with smooth grace and starlit spotlight among a tantalising air of mystery. There are many points which claim empathy and the opposite.
For Ben Affleck the cool, calm and placid nature of Nick is perfect to maintain. Able to show a fair attitude and look objectively at the situation retains depth of character. The tone set is one of loneliness in a relationship setting. Falling on hard times and trying to make things work, Affleck’s Dunne keeps you guessing, with a strong affiliation to him, even if he is guilty. Forget Nick, Gone Girl saved Ben Affleck’s career.
The lonely life of a writer, let alone two together has been perfectly swayed into the characters easily.
With a treasure hunt gone wrong, partial nudity from both Ben and Pike, routine to relationships and the breakdown of them in everyday lives is a must see. Bordering on real relationships, adapted slightly for dramatisation, of course, the film finally showcases all relationships have severe problems. A tender relationship gone sour, a mix of alcohol and some rough language exemplify a true romance. All romances are flawed, but how you work through them is how to strengthen such affinity. Giving perfect insight into the deeper contexts of what they mean and guidance for blindly entering loveless encounters, Gone Girl is worth every part of its running time. Originally built on the best-selling novel by author Gillian Flynn both she and director David Fincher can be proud of the big screen adaptation. This is a cool 4 of 5 stars and a great tale of thought provoking storytelling for a modern generation living under old age values. I would add that despite the criticisms that women can’t be bad, to which this film sets to disprove, it doesn’t go far enough. This was a great but lightly tame way to paint that picture and it needed it. If it didn’t this would have been a bad film. For that, Gone Girl has made it relevant and insightful.