I’m no spoiler-phobe when it comes to movies. Sure, I appreciate a spoiler warning so it’s then up to me whether or not I have plot point given away, but I don’t get angry if someone drops one. If a movie relies so heavily on a twist or shock ending that that’s the only thing making it worth watching, then it’s not a very good movie. Yet, for some reason, I have done my absolute best to read, see and hear as little as possible about David Fincher’s Gone Girl. I saw a quick teaser trailer about six months ago and it did the perfect job. It made me know I needed to see this movie as soon as it came out. It made me also realise that I needed to know as little as possible going in.
Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) is gently stroking the hair of his beautiful, adoring wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), while his voiceover tells us that he often fantasies about cracking her skull open. Cut to Nick in the bar he owns with his sister (Carrie Coon as Margo) on the day of his fifth wedding anniversary, bitching about how unhappy his marriage is. When he arrives home, the front door is open, there are signs of a struggle and Amy is nowhere to be seen. When the cops arrive, Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) gets her first glimpse of Nick’s apathy toward his wife and marriage.
From flashbacks throughout the history of their once happy relationship, to present day scenes of the investigations and Nick’s trial by media, Gone Girl expertly doles out clues and evidence to make you change your mind constantly about who may have committed this terrible act. Is Nick the obvious culprit, is Nick a victim of media manipulation, is Nick a good guy who made some bad decisions, is Nick a sociopath? The genius of Gone Girl is the way it seemingly answers questions like these, until you realise those answers just create more ambiguity.
Filled top to bottom with great performances, Affleck and especially Pike are obviously the centre pieces, but the supporting characters around them deserve the credit for building the world Nick and Amy live in. From Neil Patrick Harris as Amy’s high school flame, to Casey Wilson as their clueless neighbor, to Tyler Perry as slick defense attorney Tanner “Patron Saint of Wife Killers” Bolt, to Patrick Fugit as Detective Boney’s hilariously dry offsider, Officer Jim Gilpin. If a character has any dialogue in this move, you can be sure it’s been cast to perfection
I’ve really done my best to keep this review to the very basic plot points, and nothing that’s not already in the trailers. Because while this movie is about much more than twists, shocks and big reveals, those aspects of Gone Girl are executed so precisely, that I’m really glad I knew as little as I did when the opening credits began to roll. Even if you’ve read the book, you’re still in for something fresh, because author and screen writer, Gillian Flynn, apparently came up with a whole new ending for the movie version.