I haven’t read Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl (too many books, too little time, etc.) but I have seen David Fincher’s other movies (most recently The Social Network). That alone was enough to make me choose it over the creepy doll movie (news flash: china dolls don’t need any help looking creepy). The story for Gone Girl seemed pretty well worn.
A husband falls under public and police suspicion when his wife goes missing on their fifth anniversary.
I mean, The Fugitive, Prisoners, The Captive… same thing, right? NO. Gone Girl is all kinds of f***ed up. I’m really glad I didn’t read the book first and ruin it on myself. I will now attempt to describe the experience of watching the movie without revealing any spoilers.
Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) has hit a rough patch in his marriage. He spends his days drinking at a bar called The Bar and playing board games with his sister Margo (Carrie Coon). On his fifth wedding anniversary, he comes home expecting a patronizing clue hunt that he won’t be able to solve and finds signs of a struggle. His wife is gone.
Hello, police? I would like to report that I did not do it.
Through flashbacks and diary entries, we learn about Nick’s wife Amy (Rosamund Pike). They met at a party in New York. They were both magazine writers, back when that was a thing, and they bonded over smug witticisms and the fact that they were both too smart and cool for the people around them.
Your favorite book is Atlas Shrugged? ME TOO!
Amy was rich and sort of famous. Her parents Rand and Marybeth (David Clennon and Lisa Banes) wrote a series of cutesy Judy Moody style children’s books about ‘Amazing Amy,’ a more perfectly perfect version of young Amy than really existed, and put some of the money in a trust fund for her. If you think this would mess a person up a bit, you’re probably right.
Dear Diary, today my parents made me feel inadequate. Then they gave me money.
Not that Nick’s life is perfect either. He’s from a small Missouri town, his father is mean and demented, and his mother fell to cancer right around the time the economy flushed itself down the toilet. So here they are, five years married, jobless and living in a small town, resenting each other for the fact that it’s tearing them apart rather than forcing them to support each other.
Know what sucks? Life!
So Amy is missing and Nick is under a magnifying glass. Lead detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) keeps an open mind, collecting evidence and checking up on Amy’s stalker ex-boyfriend Desi (Neil Patrick Harris), while her partner Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit) is ready to condemn Nick on the power of the public perception of his sketchiness.
JIM: I bet he hides skulls down here. You see any skulls?
RHONDA: Oh go eat another donut.
One can only assume he previously defended this fake universe’s version of O.J. Simpson
So what really happened? Well, let’s just say that while every character in this movie is somewhat unhinged and hiding unflattering secrets, one of them is a lying, revenge-obsessed psychopath. And HOLY F*** is it messed up. In the words of Tanner Bolt, “you two are the most f***ed up people I’ve ever known, and I specialize in f***ed up!”
Please help us find my wife. I would like to not be arrested for murder.
This isn’t the movie to watch if you’re looking for a neat and tidy ending where everything turns out fine and clearly villainous villains are punished while clearly heroic heroes ride off into the sunset to start new lives. It’s murky and dark and twisted and if you like to say “Holy crap! That is messed up!” then you and Gone Girl will get along just fine. Just don’t read the book first. I have it on good authority that it’s full of spoilers.