Some things are better left unknown. When you go digging for the truth you might uncover something far more daunting. “Gone Girl,” the psychological thriller directed by film veteran David Fincher encompasses all the aesthetics that make films compelling and sticks to the basics. The film never tries to break new ground. Instead, it meticulously crafts itself into a masterpiece by sharpening the qualities that made its book adaption by Gillian Flynn so riveting. Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike and Tyler Perry take viewers on a tumultuous road of a failing marriage that simply does not let up on its intensity.
The premise of the film may sound cliche at first glance with the turbulent marriage and murderous plot situation. But upon further inspection there are multiple facets to the film that keep the viewer engaged. The movie embeds psychological and sociological concepts, such as the value of self-worth and bias in the media, in an attempt to get into the audience’s psyche and take them on an emotional roller coaster.
The narrative is told from the married couple’s (Nick and Amy) varying viewpoints and the film juxtaposes their opposing sentiments throughout its entirety. In Nick’s (Affleck) case, he is under a lot of pressure from the public scrutiny he is getting from the accusations, while Amy (Pike) is a disillusioned housewife who has had enough of her husband’s cheating and manipulative ways. What makes it riveting is the fact that both characters are unreliable, each sharing personal biases that prevent them from unraveling the truth to the audience and the characters within the movie. The fun in the story derives from analyzing each party’s account of the past trying to weed out any contradictions or lies.
And not only does the script solidify the movie’s poignancy, the actors take all the things bestowed upon them and completely throw themselves in their craft. Affleck has never been so mystifying playing the role of the husband. Every ounce of stress and turmoil dealt by society is visible on Affleck as he maneuvers through the plot with grace, keeping the smug demeanor that got his character into the mess. Juggling those dispositions and seamlessly transitioning between them was amazing to see.
The chemistry he shares with Pike is simply electrifying. It seemed as though these two had actually been friends forever and knew all of each other’s idiosyncrasies and mannerisms. Every little sexual or casual gesture they made was done with extreme aplomb and created a realistic portrayal that is hard to evoke in movies of similar genres. The relationship formed on-screen is organic and the emotions emanating from the screen were life-like.
Pike’s interactions with the world around her, including a very interesting scene with some petty thieves, show how much she immersed herself in her role, being able to convey extreme confidence to sheer terror at the drop of a dime. Her dedication went as far as gaining and losing weight for the scenes that called for it. Her alluring tone could easily be changed into an aggressive jeer with the slightest infection. Honorable mentions go to Perry who played public defender Tanner Bolt, and also impressed with his satire and irony.
Music is another thing “Gone Girl” nails. Each scene was perfectly accompanied with grandiose music that set the tone and mood of the plot. Something as elegant as a morning talk in a coffee shop with a harp and acoustic score could easily transition to mild drums and eerie whistles. Having both sides of the spectrum made the film a joy to hear. Never once did I think about the music overstaying its welcome or it being obnoxious. Everything just fit.
You have two categories of movies: Some movies reach for the stars and end up falling short, while others are able to reach the brilliance they set out for. “Gone Girl” is definitely in the latter. Fincher put so much of his craft and dedication into this movie and the payoff is tremendous. The plot, actors and soundtrack, are combined into a masterful orchestra by this film master. It’s a film that sits calmly on top of its contemporary peers of the same genre. The main point is, just go see it.
Rating: 5 stars