“Gone Girl” is a riveting thriller

“Gone Girl” is a riveting thriller
Photo courtesy of Ms. Magazine
“Gone Girl” is an exemplary thriller that serves as a showcase of excellent directing and peerless acting, but problems with the story prevent it from being truly great. 79/100

“Gone Girl” is a very good film that by all rights should be a truly great one. Director David Fincher is accustomed to delivering excellence, from “Fight Club” and “The Social Network” to the first two episodes of “House of Cards.” Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike put on flawless performances that draw in the audience and add weight to a somewhat ridiculous story.

The two-and-a-half hour runtime flies by, with intriguing scenes and shocking twists around every corner, and the atmosphere of suspense that runs throughout the film is matched only by the raw emotions that it’s more exploitative moments draws out of the audience. Despite all this, it is heavily weighed down by an extreme and exploitative plot that at times tests the limits of suspension of disbelief, not helped by an over-written script from Gillian Flynn, the author of the book on which the film is based.

The story of the film revolves around the marriage of Nick Dunn (Affleck) and the disappearance of his wife, Amy (Pike) on their fifth wedding anniversary. As the police and the media get involved, Nick shoots to the top of the suspect list and must try to maintain his innocence while confronting dark secrets about his marriage. The story escalates from there, however the heart of the film is about the deteriorating relationship between Nick and Amy, and how in their disturbed relationship they try to mask emotional stalemates as a happy marriage. While many parts of the story are poignant, and the twists are truly shocking, the story balloons to the point of ridiculousness at times.

Any moviegoer who has read the book on which the film is based will find no surprises, and should only really see the film for the masterclass in acting that Affleck and Pike put on.

Fincher has directed so many masterpieces that it seems that he could do it in his sleep. He is capable of getting the most out of his entire cast and his sense of mood is impeccable, leaving me on the edge of my seat the entire time. He gets every ounce of quality he can out of his crew and his script. The issue that he has is that the script, while actually a very good script, feels slightly overwritten. Certainly it would have helped if the script had toned itself down, as the more implausible and over-the-top moments in the story, while very entertaining and dramatic, distract from the more poignant commentary and biting satire that underscores the film’s better parts.

“Gone Girl” is another successful notch in the belt of David Fincher, a great debut for screenwriter Gillian Flynn, and expect to hear Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike’s names again come Oscar season. However, the story gets out of its own control at times, and the best parts of the film are when it tones down and lets the actors and director make a connection with the audience. I give it a 79/100.