Gone Girl, the latest film from veteran director David Fincher, delved deep into the suppressed paranoia and hatred of a struggling marriage, weaved into a tense crime thriller where no character is without flaw and no one gets out clean. Be warned that this is not a feel good film.
The story, based on Gillian Flynn’s 2012 novel, is so packed with twists that it’s hard to summarise without giving away too much, but I’ll try. On the day of their five year anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) arrives home ready to endure his wife Amy’s sickeningly romantic treasure hunt only to find the house trashed and Amy missing. The situation escalates as Amy’s disappearance spurs media frenzy and Nick becomes the most likely suspect in the eyes of the public and the audience.
Affleck gives a brilliantly authentic performance as the failed writer and neglecting husband with debatable intentions, but it’s Rosamund Pike’s Amy that you can never take your eyes off. The character’s insecurity and complexity is explored through her diary entries as she recounts the most intimate moments of their marriage. In these pages, we watch as both characters are mutated from a charming romantic couple to weary, closed off individuals. The criminal investigation keeps up the film’s pace, but it’s the Dunne’s realistically strained relationship that really hits home.
There are many other engaging performances, like Kim Dickens’ brooding detective Boney, but none are more resonating than that of Neil Patrick Harris. Wearing the intense mask of Amy’s overly possessive old boyfriend, the fantastically creepy Desi Collings, Harris leaves the audience never sure of what he might be capable of. Unfortunately, Harris is underused in this role, but it opens up exciting prospects for the actor in future dramatic roles.
Overall, Gone Girl is a delightfully disturbing and stylish addition to Fincher’s already impressive filmography. Every actor is on top form, the score complements the tone perfectly, and although the story centres on a marriage, there is a severe absence of love amongst the violence and deceit that make Gone Girl a must see thriller.