Gone Girl Filled with Thrills, Surprises

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Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne in Gone Girl

After seeing Gone Girl for the second time last Sunday, I left the theater with a feeling of shock. This surprised me, since watching a movie for a second time usually softens the impact of its material, and I knew everything that was going to happen. Yet the film still managed to creep up on me, surprise me, scare me, and eventually leave me in a state of shock and disbelief in what I had just saw. If that isn’t a sign of good filmmaking, I just don’t know what is.

The movie opens with Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) meeting up with his twin sister on the 5th anniversary of his marriage with his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike). Up until now, his day seems to be going pretty normal, except when he comes home to find his wife is gone.

His immediate reaction? Meh.

He doesn’t really seem all that concerned with the fact his wife is gone. Add to that the fact that the circumstances around the disappearance and the details of the scene are odd, and Nick is starting to look less and less innocent as the movies minutes tick on.

Like anyone put in this situation, he’s constantly trying to convince people he’s not guilty, and you really want to believe him. But if he’s telling the truth and he didn’t do it, then who did? And without a body, who’s to say if she really was murdered? Or if Nick really is involved at all?

To answer any of these questions would ruin the movie, something I wouldn’t dream of doing. All you really need to know is Gone Girl is an expertly crafted movie where nothing is as it seems, and the plot is always one step ahead of you at all times.

Plot aside, this movie has so many more things working for it that make it great. For starters, the casting is great. Pretty much everyone (except Neil Patrick Harris, surprisingly) does an excellent job. Ben Affleck gives one of the greatest performances of his career as the maybe murderer of his wife. Rosamund Pike is Oscar worthy here, giving probably the best performance of her career in a star-making role for her. But for me, the most surprising role was Tyler Perry as Tanner Bolt, Nick’s lawyer. I’d honestly thought I’d never say this, but Tyler Perry is one of the main reasons to see Gone Girl. He’s unexpectedly really good in this; I think he might even be oscar worthy. If this was the first time you’d ever seen him, you’d think his career was more like Denzel Washington’s than Adam Sandler’s. I wish he would do more movies like this.

However, the real star of this movie is director David Fincher. He is one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers out there, and he specializes in making dark, twisted movies like this. Here, he seems to be channeling Hitchcock, by having a blonde femme fatale, centering it around a failing marriage, adding dark comedy in the most unexpected times. He crafts each frame with painstaking care to make sure each shot is perfect. Like all his movies, the cinematography is immaculate. No one can film night time as good as he can. The editing is rapid and quick but not rushed, and at a run time of 148 minutes, Fincher paces it to feel like a little more than a few minutes. This is a master filmmaker working with all cylinders firing, and it would never had been this good in the hands of anyone else.

Gone Girl is dark, smart, uncommonly good mainstream thriller, and one that sticks with you long after the credits roll.

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