Friday, October 3, 2014

Gone Girl - Review

Gone Girl - Review

Webster dictionary defines the word “hype” as to promote or publicize a product and or an idea very intensively, often exaggerating its overall importance or benefits. After watching “Gone Girl” last night I have to say the film’s positive “hype” is well deserved and splendidly so. “Gone Girl” takes us on an imaginative ride in story, in atmosphere, in acting, in writing and directing that culminates with all of these components working wonderfully well together as a well-crafted piece of movie making at its finest. With many of its subcomponents that are creepy, slick, mysterious, villainous, suspenseful and gripping, all the while oozing with a raw sexual intimacy “Gone Girl” makes the early case that is it is one of the best movies of the year.

Directed by David Fincher who has built a rather impressive filmography over the last 20 years with such notable films as “Alien 3”, “Fight Club”, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “Seven”, “Zodiac”, “Panic Room”, “The Social Network” & “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”, he once again takes his talented penchant of delving masterfully into dark twisted territory, in this case with a classic standard story structure of “who done it” and delivering on the big screen something overall that is modernly shocking, cerebral, alluring and mesmerizing. And with a scene to scene style of detailed execution, Director Fincher’s work here can only be best described as uniquely inventive in its manner for all of its 2-1/2 hours running time. “Gone Girl” at its core is a theatrical palatably delicious film to watch each and every moment you are there, leaving the viewer with an eerie unnatural emotional sense of systematically being filled with an intravenous adrenaline IV drip of genuine dread and appropriate subtle humor.

Based on the Gillian Flynn’s successful novel of the same name, who also wrote the screenplay for the film, “Gone Girl” takes place in the suburbs outside St Louis Missouri. We find the two key story principles recently transplanted from New York in the husband Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and his wife Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), making what appears on the surface to be the quintessential glamour good looking couple. We like them because they look good and what’s not to like about them or not be envious of - they just look perfectly suited together.

At the onset of the film we see it’s the occasion of their fifth wedding anniversary when on that same day Nick reports that his beautiful wife Amy (I would say exquisite looking wife) has all of sudden gone missing without as much of any early physical clues or fathomable logical explanations why. Under pressure from the police and the growing media frenzy, Nick's early portrait of his blissful marital relationship begins to be slowly peeled away from something less than perceived.  Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?

“Gone Girl” largely has the feel of a four act play. The first act portraying the young and flirtation couple when they first met and how almost predictably ordinary in some ways they are. They are just a young couple in love. The second act is more about Amy being missing largely through the story of Nick and his insistence of projecting the perception of how much he loved Amy verses some of the slow dripping details of the reality of their relationship. It also shows in this same act, quite glaringly I may add, how the modern  American media has way too much influence on the public and the law in shaping both the perception and the reality of someone especially when that someone is under the hot light of suspicion as the so call ‘person of interest” in potential criminal cases.    

The third act is more of the story from Amy’s point of view, also dealing with her perception verses her reality leading up to her disappearance. The fourth act, well you are simply going to have to go to the movie to see it for yourself, but it does bring the other three acts into much greater focus with a stylized touch seen often by the great Director Alfred Hitchcock who use to deliver so many times in his filmmaking career a story involving human frailty, mystery and intrigue.

“Gone Girl” bathes itself in why men and women work so hard pretending and living in a charade swirl of lies, sometimes for privacy sake, even if it makes them miserable. For some reason, giving up a detailed false narrative give lots of people some comfort simply for the sake of not being judged by others and especially so in their personal intimate relationships. For some, image is everything – it is the relationship.

Applause for all the actors involved across the board, but a special acknowledgement of   Rosamond Pike who has been in previously other good films like “Barney’s Version” and “An Education”, who in my estimation in “Gone Girl” gives a star is born making performance, not only for her acting but also how she uses her physical looks, the way she looked at you with her glances and the luring intimacy she generated with just her eyes without even saying a word. Her eyes at times seemed more like props she used to draw you in so deep that in one swift moment her nature was someone who is sweet, passionate and naïvely innocent that you yourself would be drawn to kiss her and a split second later someone cold, aloof and deviously detached that would make you leave that room. I see a good chance that come next January no one should be surprised if you hear her name as one of the nominees in the Best Actress category. Also, praise for actress Carrie Coon who plays “Margo Coon” the feisty, loving and immensely loyal sibling twin sister to Nick Dunne. Her supporting performance could and should be worthy of Best Supporting Actress consideration as well.

“Gone Girl” is why 30 years ago I went from being a fan of movies to loving them. It’s my annual pilgrimage quest to find imaginative gems to exalt their cinematic excellence. “Gone Girl” delivers that gem.

4 Stars   

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