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Film Review: Gone Girl (2014)

(Warning: Spoilers!)

Gripping, cerebral, and remarkably glacial in both tone and pace, Gone Girl is an inventive thriller based on the bestselling novel by Gillian Flynn. On the fifth anniversary of his marriage, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) discovers that his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone missing. As she is a minor literary celebrity, Amy’s mysterious disappearance is rabidly covered by the media and the Dunnes’ lives are picked apart by the public and the police. Under increasingly heavy suspicion, Nick slowly pieces together what really happened to his wife and the truth about aloof, always-admired Amy proves to be terrifically frightening to the few who find out.

The story switches perspectives a few times over the course of telling it. Both Nick and Amy provide narration and the film utilizes flashbacks to show the protagonists’ relationship from their meeting up to the present. In her use of revealing and withholding information, author/screenwriter Flynn expertly uses the unreliable narrator to help stage the mystery of Amy’s perfect crime. As well, she critically examines gender roles and long-term relationships. Amy’s “Cool Girl” monologue has become a bit of a feminist manifesto as in it she rejects the trend of women faking a fantasy persona for the pleasure of men. Flynn also looks at the media and big-city/small-town divides.

Gone Girl is as unflinchingly stylish, biting, and violent as any other work directed by David Fincher, such as his other book-to-film adaptations Fight Club or The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo. It is also surprisingly humourous, even described by some as a comedy about marriage. The purposefully unsettling score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross augments the artful cinematography, superb acting, and brilliant story of the film. Brilliantly cast on all levels with a standout performance by Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl is not easily forgotten.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Punch and Judy puppets

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