Gone Girl is hardly David Fincher’s strongest film and arguably might not be in his top 5, but there’s much to admire in spite of a momentum killing third act from the performances by Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, the suspension early on and the atmosphere Fincher and company establish.
Genre(s): Crime, Drama, Mystery
Fox | R – 149 min. – $39.99 | January 13, 2015
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
Gone Girl, based on the (apparently) hit novel – to which I never read – is director David Fincher’s fifth book-to-film adaptation following Fight Club, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Zodiac to name three. I won’t say his latest is a homerun as its second tier compared with his other works, but this is still a solid outing that has a sordid and twisted sense of humor underlying the mystery parts.
The story, told through flashbacks and journal entries, is centered on married couple Nick (BEN AFFLECK) and Amy Dunne (ROSAMUND PIKE) and we get to see how they first met, the happy honeymoon phase, the troubled span with financial issues and ultimately a near resentment of one another with Amy trapped living far away from her native New York to live in Nick’s Missouri hometown, the move made to help Nick’s sick mother.
One day, as Nick is outlining his problems with twin sister Margo (CARRIE COON) at The Bar which they co-own together, he receives a call from a neighbor and upon coming home, finds the door ajar, a mess in the living room and his wife nowhere in sight. After a thorough search, he eventually calls the police. Heading up the investigation is Detective Rhonda Boney (KIM DICKENS) along her partner, Officer James Gilpin (PATRICK FUGIT). Their search finds a blood spot in the kitchen and more questions for Nick.
With no clues to her whereabouts, the police hold a press conference attended by Nick and Amy’s parents as they implore the public for any tips; this culminates with an awkward picture with Nick posing next to the reward poster with a jackass grin on his face. The media is in full circus mode including a Nancy Grace-like character, along with the usual so-called experts, more than suggesting that Nick knows something and even gets the sick notion there’s a more personal relationship going on between Nick and his sister…
However, things only get worse for Nick. Not only does it seem he no longer cared about his wife, and we get her viewpoint vie way of her journal which recounts loneliness, arguments and even abuse, but we then discover that he has a 20-something year old mistress, Andie (EMILY RATAJKOWSKI from Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” music video fame), on the side who was a former student of his.
With the police closing in and his problems only mounting, and after discovering something crucial which I won’t outline here, Nick calls in hotshot defense attorney Tanner Bolt (TYLER PERRY) to set up what will be an eventual defense and handle media control with the public utterly hating Nick by this point.
The performances for the most are all great. Ben Affleck continues his ascension brushing away the crapfest in his past (like Gigli, Paycheck and Daredevil most notably) to bu8ilding a solid career in front of and behind the camera over the last 4 years (see: The Company Men, The Town and Argo for proof). For her part, Rosamund Pike perhaps gives her best performance and is incredible in what was a difficult role to pull off; she’s come a long way from Die Another Day…
The supporting cast also does well and that includes, surprisingly enough, Tyler Perry. He doesn’t exactly steal the show as the over-the-top defense attorney but he does provide some levity and he brings certain weight to his few scenes. Carrie Coon in her first feature film role is great and works well opposite Affleck while Neil Patrick Harris is utterly creepy in his small yet pivotal part.
Gone Girl, as I said, isn’t Fincher’s strongest film and it is overlong by a good 20-minutes or so, but the suspense is well done, the comedy incredibly dark if you appreciate that sort of thing, and despite its length, it did still manage to keep my attention until the third act where the film kind of loses any momentum. That said, I did like the ending which I know some took issue with.
In the end, Gone Girl isn’t perfect but I still immensely enjoyed it, albeit not sure when I’ll ever revisit it with a preference on re-watching Zodiac before I return to this film. Even so, there’s enough mystery to keep one’s attention and the performances from the leads are all fantastic and helps overcome any of the film’s (minor as they might be) shortcomings.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.5/5
This one-disc set comes in a fold-out digipak tucked inside a side-sliding slip cover. Included is the redemption code for the Digital Copy and a 36-page children’s book ‘Amazing Amy Tattle Tale.’ Personally, I don’t care for the packaging and would’ve preferred it comes in a standard Blu-ray case with a nice slip cover.
Outside of an insightful Commentary by Director David Fincher, nothing else was included so beware, Fox may release a special edition with additional scenes, featurettes and more down the road…
VIDEO – 4.75/5
Fox releases Gone Girl on Blu-ray shown with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio (MPEG-4 AVC codec) and a 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture, unsurprisingly, looks incredible showcasing Fincher’s style and Jeff Cronenweth’s cinematography so well (the pair date back to 1995 with Se7en when Cronenweth was a camera operator). Colors are weak though that is by design especially in numerous scenes where Fincher uses some kind of piss-yellow filter while others are brighter and more natural. Detail levels are sharp and the transfer on the whole looks clean.
AUDIO – 5.0/5
The movie sports a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track which handles quite well though this is mostly a dialogue-driven movie with little to no real action. Where the track does excel, outside of the crisp and clear dialogue levels, is with the soundtrack and score by Trent Raznor and Atticus Ross, the Oscar-winning duo for The Social Network though this one isn’t as strong as TSN or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but effective enough. The LFE channel does kick in but for the most part it’s relatively subdued.
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Overall, Gone Girl is hardly David Fincher’s strongest film and arguably might not be in his top 5, but there’s much to admire in spite of a momentum killing third act from the performances by Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, the suspension early on and the atmosphere Fincher and company establish. It’s not an entirely unpredictable plot even for those of us who never read the novel however it doesn’t take away from other elements and even with a lengthy running time, the film does fly by. That being said, I’m unsure I’d revisit this one any time soon unlike some of Fincher’s other films…
The Blu-ray released by Fox is more or less weak. Yeah, the commentary by Fincher is nice but I have to think there was production featurettes, maybe some deleted scenes and outtakes which make me think there’ll be a special edition down the pike at some point.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.