Gone Girl reviews

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Re: Gone Girl reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:48 pm

flipp525 wrote:
The Original BJ wrote:To those who read the book, didn't Amy's parents resurrect "The Amazing Amy" series with a brand-new book after all that happened and became a successful writing duo again?

Most definitely. I can see how they couldn't fit every detail in the movie -- it was already 2 1/2 hours long -- but that was such a nice touch: given how much havoc the financial issues (breaking into Amy's trust fund) had wreaked on the marriage, it was another level of irony for Amy's plan to have brought back stability.

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Re: Gone Girl reviews

Postby flipp525 » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:32 am

The Original BJ wrote:The big issue I had in the first portion of the movie was quite simply the fact that, despite not having read the novel, and not knowing a thing about its plot aside from what appeared in the trailer, I figured out the Big Twist way before that plot reveal occurred. I’m not trying to toot my own horn in terms of predictive power here -- it’s very possible that simply knowing this was a movie with SPOILER ALERT slapped over the top of every review had me cued to look out for potential twists from the get-go -- but I’m not sure that was entirely the issue.

Wait, so you actually knew that those early scenes of Nick and Amy's marriage were essentially a mixture of reality and fantasy? How much of the twist did you predict and to what extent? For example, you knew that the scene where he throws her against the stairs was entirely fictional as it was being shown to you? I'm just curious because that seems pretty super-human.

Also, BJ, in the novel, Desi is portrayed much more explicitly as keeping Amy prisoner. And there's just a larger sense of desperation and panic as it slowly dawns on Amy that she has made a really bad choice in contacting him. He just seems much more malevolent and there is the feeling that Amy will not ever be able to escape him. The film took that character down more the clingy route rather than the increasingly deranged psycho he becomes in the book. His murder feels much more earned in the novel. For me the film failed at creating the stakes that would make her very violent act inevitable. (Sorry, Tee, I just read your second post where you basically covered this same point.)

I thought Kim Dickens and Carrie Coon were both really effective in their roles (I'd actually love it if both of them were nominated). Even Sela Ward and the actress who played the trashy bitch in the Ozarks were spot-on. The entire supporting cast was wonderful. And Rosamund Pike took an extremely complicated (and, let's face it, pretty outrageous) character on the page and made her into someone I could believe on the screen.

To those who read the book, didn't Amy's parents resurrect "The Amazing Amy" series with a brand-new book after all that happened and became a successful writing duo again? I seem to remember that detail. Also, I remember Neil Patrick Harris' character having a mother who was part of that particular plot thread. Since I can't remember what she even did in the book, I'm sure she was a character who Flynn could easily cut.

There's a moment from Gone Girl for which I *must* have an animated gif. Like, I still can't even believe it happened. When she flips her hair as she's naked, bloody and straddling NPH's dead body. Our whole audience laughed their asses off.
Last edited by flipp525 on Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Gone Girl reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:43 pm

THIS THREAD IS NOW INFESTED WITH SPOILERS, SO THE UNINITIATED SHOULD STEER CLEAR

BJ, I think there were two reasons why the big twist caught pretty much all readers totally off-guard, but not you, and maybe not other viewers.

The first is what you said: that the buzz around the movie has you looking for something tectonic-plate-shifting. When I picked up the book, all I knew was, it was a hot item, being read by a lot of people; nothing beyond that. When you know there's some kind of big plot surprise (and publicity for the film has far further emphasized this), you're attuned in a way you wouldn't be otherwise. As I've recounted here before: I figured out the twist in The Sting literally from the first scene setting it up. I'm not especially good at ferreting out such things, but it hit me immediately. Of course, however, I'd gone into The Sting knowing that it was "a movie with a big twist", so I was on the alert. Had I not had that orientation, the exact same scene might have blown right by me. (Though kudos to The Crying Game, I guess, for surprising me even after Weinstein pushed the surprise angle for all it was worth)

The other is something specific to the film adaptation. You have to understand, the opening of the novel was written in two separate strands: Nick experiencing the events from the morning of the disappearance, and Amy describing the history that led from first meet to that morning -- the same as in the movie, yes, except we had no notion the second strand was something Amy had written down. As readers, we experienced both strands as narration; as far as we knew, the two had utterly equal weight, were equally factual/valid. The feeling I had as I was reading this (and here I disagree with your friend some) was, knowledge of the genre inclines me to think Nick is somehow innocent (otherwise there's really no book), but I can't see how, with all this evidence lined up against him. It was a double-reveal -- that Amy's narration was actually coming from a diary, and that she concocted much of it -- that gave the book its kick. Fincher & Flynn attempt to preserve that kick, and for many it will still work. But I think the fact that, for the adaptation, they were forced to put all Amy's stuff into voice-over, making the two strands no longer of equal weight, opens the door a bit more for canny viewers to catch on.

Also, to what you wrote about how cold-bloodedly Amy kills the Neil Patrick Harris character: unless I'm remembering incorrectly, in the book there was more the sense that he finally had Amy under his control like he'd always wanted, and she felt she was his prisoner. It happens I thought that was one of the sillier developments in the latter part of the book, so I was glad to see it elided, but I didn't think of what you noted, that this way makes her far more a psychopath.

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Re: Gone Girl reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:38 pm

I’m in general overall agreement with Mister Tee and Sabin on Gone Girl, in finding it an unsurprisingly well-made movie with some interesting elements, but also enough narrative issues that prevent it from achieving the level of greatness of David Fincher’s best work. What’s interesting though, is how those issues seem to vary. And, of course, I too must announce…

THERE WILL BE MAJOR SPOILERS IN THE NEXT FEW PARAGRAPHS, INCLUDING DISCUSSION OF THE BIG TWIST, SO CONSIDER YOURSELF FULLY WARNED THAT THE ENTIRE PLOT WILL BE SPOILED IF YOU READ MUCH FURTHER.

Now that that’s out of the way…

I thought the movie opened pretty solidly, establishing the tension between the current issues plaguing the Affleck/Pike marriage, and contrasting those with her memories of happier times. I found Pike most especially interesting in this section -- she just radiates charm in the flashbacks, but her voice-over conveys another, more cool and distant persona, which adds a good bit of complexity to these early passages. (It also morbidly suggests she might well be narrating this from the afterlife.) When the mystery plot kicks into gear, it does so with great efficiency, with a lot of interesting clues and loose ends that seem to provide the movie with a lot of compelling directions in which it might take its twisty plot.

Does the movie deliver on this promise? Well, that’s a tough question, because I think it does and it doesn’t. The big issue I had in the first portion of the movie was quite simply the fact that, despite not having read the novel, and not knowing a thing about its plot aside from what appeared in the trailer, I figured out the Big Twist way before that plot reveal occurred. I’m not trying to toot my own horn in terms of predictive power here -- it’s very possible that simply knowing this was a movie with SPOILER ALERT slapped over the top of every review had me cued to look out for potential twists from the get-go -- but I’m not sure that was entirely the issue. The friend I saw the movie with told me that Affleck’s character on the page seemed far more shady; in her opinion, the novel created a character in that first portion who very well might have murdered his wife. But on screen, I didn’t much think that was the case -- everything about the character as written and acted fit right into the falsely accused wrong man template, and once Affleck started following the clues Pike left him, I just assumed she’d tauntingly lead him toward the revelation that she set him up. Obviously, everyone’s opinion on this subject will be personal -- no one can really tell you what you will and will not find predictable -- but I can only say I wasn’t as blown away at a surprise level as many were when they read the book.

I also had issues with some of the logistics of this twist. Pike assumed leaving a clue and changing the security code at the dad’s house would OBVIOUSLY lead the cops toward the diary hidden in the furnace in the basement? Sorry, but I think the chances of that diary getting found are pretty low, and she was resting a rather big amount of her plan on that. And I thought the amount of screen time given to the credit card purchases hidden in the wood shed seemed out proportion to their actual relevance, when confirmation of Affleck’s already-assumed credit card debt didn’t exactly provide any proof of foul play.

All of this being said, I was still glad the story went where it did, because, unlike Mister Tee, I thought what compromises the second act was just about the most interesting stuff in the narrative. Once the ruthlessness of Pike’s plan is revealed, she becomes almost a Hitchcockian antihero -- you know she deserves her comeuppance, but a part of you thinks she was just so damn cunning (and so wronged by Affleck’s philandering) that you root for her to get away with it just the same. I was completely on board for the way this story turn deepened her character and propelled the plot into a new direction. And then, I liked that she isn’t revealed to be some kind of flawless mastermind -- she makes a pretty big mistake that torpedoes her plan, and I enjoyed that it came not from anything she did wrong in the Affleck frame-up, but from her own desire to reach out for human connection on the road. (A girl can be gone, but it’s pretty difficult for any person to completely give up on others entirely, and it struck me on a thematic level just how many characters in the movie get in big trouble for seeking out the company of people they obviously know they shouldn’t.)

I similarly felt Affleck’s character became a whole lot more interesting in this chunk too, as he develops a vengeful vindictiveness to go along with increasing fears over the legal trouble that could come his way. And by this point, I was admiring how the writer had crafted two characters with multiple facets to their personalities, both of which I was rooting for (or against) depending on the scene, and sometimes even within the same scene.

But I thought the plot line took a bit of a left turn near the end, and never really recovered to a degree I found satisfying. Once the movie’s violent murder occurs, I lost any sympathy I had for Pike -- suddenly she just seemed like a crazy bitch who had no problem slaughtering an old flame whose biggest crime seemed to be that he was just too damn clingy. Everything that had been psychologically interesting about her character up to that point just went out the window, and she basically just became a raging sociopath. And I had no idea what I was supposed to think about her returning to Affleck, or his decision to stay with her -- it just didn’t seem to make any sense that after going to such wild extremes trying to put him away, she’d still want a life with him (or even that trapping him in such a marriage would protect her in away way). And for him, I’m supposed to buy that his devotion to his unborn child is enough for him to stay married to the lunatic who hatched such a scheme to incarcerate him, or worse? I felt like neither of the main character’s actions resolved in any kind of believable way, and it seemed like after the tremendous experiences both had been through, the story needed to conclude with more of a bang than a whimper.

But, as I said, there’s engaging stuff along the way, and not simply at the plot level. I don’t think the movie has any bravura Fincher sequences, but it’s pretty consistently good looking visually, and clips along at a somewhat unique pace -- I liked the way the film hopped along between plot points, packing a lot of information into its scenes, sometimes not explaining every detail until later in the story. I also found the movie’s sense of humor very interesting -- there’s a point where portions of it start to dip into full-blown satire, and I found that the movie’s snarky take on a lot of elements, from the ridiculous media narrative that forms around a seemingly mundane missing persons case simply due to the notability of the person missing, to the contrast between the New York bourgeoisie and the Midwestern suburbanites (neither of which get off that well by the time the story ends), provided an unexpected layer to the material. Tonally, it is a bit of a mess, but I found the movie's split personalities gave it an appealingly chaotic vibe, to say nothing of the fact that they seem completely appropriate for a movie about characters juggling strikingly different personae.

And the cast, while a fairly odd collection of players to put in the same movie, manages to gel even when they’re tasked with pretty different assignments tonally. I think Pike is the standout -- she simply has the most emotionally charged role, and gets to show a good bit of range -- though I do think the screenplay ultimately lets her down by the finale; I don’t know how any actress would make some of those last scenes believable. Affleck is probably the best he’s ever been as an actor, but I can’t say the role is such a showcase that I’d view him as a top Best Actor candidate, given the festival buzz coming from other places. In support, I agree that Tyler Perry (whose regular oeuvre seems like something I would find beyond insufferable) was quite funny, Neil Patrick Harris found the right combination of obnoxious and endearing, and Missi Pyle is basically a hoot any time she appears on screen (though, for what it’s worth, I met her fairly recently, and this is essentially her real-life personality to a tee. Not that there’s anything wrong with that -- it’s a pretty fun personality.)

My two favorites in the supporting cast were the other two women, though. Kim Dickens’s character doesn’t have a ton of backstory -- I don’t think there’s a beat she has that isn’t procedural -- but I liked a lot of the shadings she brought to the part. She’s tough and determined to put the right person behind bars, but she also isn’t afraid to give Affleck the benefit of the doubt, nor to change her mind when she believes she might have made a mistake. Carrie Coon, on the other hand, actually has very little plot function, but strictly as the movie’s moral touchstone she brings some much-needed heart to the proceedings. (And yes, the brother-sister dynamic between her and Affleck feels hugely believable.) I feel like I’d land more on the “iffy” side of her Oscar prospects at this point -- it seems to me that, while good throughout, she doesn’t have any scene that’s so focused on providing her a showcase -- but at the same time, it’s already October and somebody has to fill those Supporting Actress spots so I wouldn’t count her out.

I think, at the very least, this achieves an Oscar profile similar to that of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo -- Best Actress and a handful of techs, though given the movie’s initial box office success and more enthusiastic critical reception, I would assume a few more high profile nods are in the cards as well. How many will of course depend on how well the rest of the season’s candidates fare once they storm out of the gate.

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Re: Gone Girl reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Oct 06, 2014 3:29 am

This one is a big disappointment for me.

I love mysteries, but this one reminds me of Jagged Edge, a similarly themed film from 1985 with then three time Oscar nominee Jeff Bridges as a young executive suspected of brutally murdering his wife and their maid, with Glenn Close in her first starring role after three consecutive supporting actress nominations as the attorney with whom he has an affair. Both Bridges and Close were praised for their performances, but the only one to receive an Oscar nomination in the end was Robert Loggia for his supporting role as a foul-mouthed investigator. Despite the intense acting amid the blood and gore, the film ultimately fails because the ending is a letdown. Same here.

Rosamund Pike will probably get a Best Actress nomination because this is one of way too many years in which the choices for best actress are slim, but that's about the only category in which the film has a strong shot. Best Picture in a field of 9 or 10 is possible, but if this were a five film race it wouldn't stand a chance. Adapted screenplay, maybe, but that's it.
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Re: Gone Girl reviews

Postby Sabin » Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:10 am

Gone Girl is a paradoxical film. It's smart, but it's dumb. It's a nightmare, but it's a fantasy. It's lurid, but it's masterly evocative. Gone Girl is doing a lot of things at the same time and perhaps I'm damning it with faint praise by saying the fact that it seems to cohere means it's doing something very right. Or maybe I'm not damning it with faint praise.

I haven't the book, so it all played fresh to me, which is to say it played like 90s tabloid sensationalism but to Gillian Flynn's credit she does a good job of making it feel like a movie. We don't really spend too much time in any one place. At its best, it feels like a satire of marriage as an institution, that this is where all marriages inexorably winds towards. Individual scenes and moments carry a power, but it's also such a dumb film. And it's possibly the most brilliant tonal disaster I've ever seen. The film starts in Fincherville and that's where he is the most comfortable, but then after [I CAN'T REALLY GET INTO SPOILERS] it becomes a series of desperate bids for survival that feel almost comical. For example, how can the ridiculous Neil Patrick Harris and the moving Carrie Coon be in the same movie? By the end of the film, to equate these two people (Pike and Affleck) is insane. Which leads me to think that either this is just an expertly executed Lifetime Movie or something is missing, and the fault lies then with Fincher and/or Pike, all of which feels ridiculous to say because they're all quite good. There is no marriage in this film -- which may be Fincher's central joke. With what she is given, Rosamund Pike cannot suggest a woman who has lived the life she is accused of an also create a recognizable human being. Our relationship with understanding Pike is so different than understand Affleck that they barely seem to exist in the same universe.

Through sheer force of will and his directorial OCD, Fincher finds a common ground between all this but it still doesn't hold up on much thought.
Last edited by Sabin on Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Gone Girl reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:57 pm

LIKE MUCH OF AMERICA, I READ GONE GIRL, OVER A YEAR AGO. TALKING ABOUT THE BOOK/FILM IN ANY DETAIL RISKS SPOILERS, EVEN IN THROWAWAY PHRASES; INADVERTENTLY, I COULD WRECK THE FILM FOR YOU. SO, IF YOU WISH TO REMAIN A FULL-FLEDGED GONE GIRL VIRGIN, DON’T READ FURTHER.

I’m of two minds about Fincher’s film. I don't think it's any kind of great work, due primarily to the pulpy source material. This is not remotely on the level of se7en, Fight Club, Social Network or Zodiac; it’s to some extent Fincher punching below his weight. And yet…unlike with Dragon Tattoo, it feels like Fincher (in collaboration with Flynn) has emphasized something interesting burbling beneath the potboiler surface: an idea about marriage (and, by extension, life in general) -- how much of it is a masquerade; the degree to which people are willing (or unwilling) to make the ongoing effort to be their best selves if that’s what will sustain the relationship. And, the deeper question: which persona – the one it takes work to maintain, or the one to which you can lazily default – is the true you.

Some may not find this as intriguing as I do; may view the film the way I did the novel. My feeling about the book was, it was an engaging enough thriller with a truly ingenious midpoint twist – maybe the most whiplash-inducing twist this side of Sleuth – but, like in Sleuth, I found everything post-twist anti-climactic and even borderline silly. I can’t be sure whether my better feeling about the film’s latter portions owe to improvements in emphasis the adaptation offers, or whether it’s a case of Mystic River redux: that I’d already gone all in with my misgivings about the narrative at the novel-reading stage, and now am only concentrating on the changes, a situation that won’t apply to first-timers (including the friend I went with, who reacted much as I had to the novel).

Whatever one’s feelings about the content, certainly Fincher does his usual professional job of film-making. I didn’t catch any inspired framing, but the whole thing is put together as well as seems possible. And the overall level of acting is quite strong. Ben Affleck carries the film beautifully – he doesn’t have a flashy part, but he’s the rock on which all the rest depends. Rosamund Pike is elusive for much of the movie – a lot of her part consists of voice-over – but in the latter portions she takes center-stage in a memorable way. If she’s nominated where Affleck isn’t, it’s to a degree the different levels of competition among actors/actresses, but also a bit of the same solid/flashy gap that saw Stanwyck but not MacMurray nominated for Double Indemnity. There are a bunch of good turns among the supporting cast – Kim Dickens as the skeptical cop, Tyler Perry flinging off one-liners as the celebrity attorney, Missy Pyle as a full-throttle Nancy Grace – but my favorite is Carrie Coon, who’s simultaneously cynical and warm-hearted, the closest to a lovable character in the film. People at other sites are worried she doesn’t “do enough” to get a nomination, but I have a sense she’s the sort who people are skeptical about right up to nomination day but who almost always makes the cut in the end.

I don’t see this as Fincher’s Oscar movie, but who knows? The opening weekend is boffo (almost double the initial projections), and if it holds up, and everything else falls through, it might surprise a la The Departed (and it’s certainly no worse than Argo). But I view it as basically a B to B+ effort – stylishly made and enjoyable, with a little reverb, but nothing extraordinary.
Last edited by Mister Tee on Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Gone Girl reviews

Postby Precious Doll » Fri Oct 03, 2014 7:18 am

I have for some time a declining interest in much modern cinema, particular from English speaking countries.

However, Gone Girl was one film that I have been looking forward to seeing. Goodness knows how many times I saw the trailer at the cinema. Actually two different trailers over the last 3 to 4 months.

Despite crippling back pain at the moment that makes cinema going a very unpleasant experience for me I was totally captivated by the film. The ever reliable David Fincher delivers one of his very best with this one.

Whilst there are plot holes and unexplored questions and film is never less than enthralling from start to finish.

Excellent performances from the entire cast and it's great to see Rosamund Pike get a role that she can really sink her teeth into.

2014 is turning out to be a somewhat bizarre year for films that are dramas. Some of the best drama films of the year like Stations of the Cross, Amour Fou, Welcome to New York and now Gone Girl, whilst all dramas that take their material very seriously (though less so in the case of Welcome to New York) are at times hilariously funny in very dark and disturbing ways. If filmmakers keep turning out dramas in this vein there won't be any need to see any comedy films.
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Re: Gone Girl reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Sep 22, 2014 7:59 am

I tried reposting the rest of the article and now I've gotten the dreaded 403 Forbidden message.

Good news, though, the Variety site, which had been under a firewall, is now free. Anyone can go to Variety.com and read the review in full.
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Re: Gone Girl reviews

Postby Precious Doll » Mon Sep 22, 2014 3:54 am

Mister Tee wrote:I'd post the rest of the extravagant rave, but this motherfucking 403 thing keeps stopping me. Maybe someone who doesn't have this problem can copy the full review from Variety.


As I said in a previous post I was having this problem, did nothing about it, and it has stopped.

However, last week I used my partners laptop and up came the 403. And to top it off he had cleared out history the day or to before!

Goodness knows what is causing this.
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Re: Gone Girl reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Sep 21, 2014 10:22 pm

Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy -- less enthuasiastic

This is one instance in which a writer won't be able to complain about what the movies have done to her book. With a screenplay by the novelist herself, David Fincher's film of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn's twisty, nasty and sensational best-seller, is a sharply made, perfectly cast and unfailingly absorbing melodrama. But, like the director's adaptation of another publishing phenomenon, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, three years ago, it leaves you with a quietly lingering feeling of: “Is that all there is?”

With a huge built-in audience of readers, this immaculately crafted film will give both book loyalists and general viewers a jolting good time, spelling strong box office beginning Oct. 3 after its world premiere at the New York Film Festival on Sept. 26.

In a rare instance of a novelist being permitted to adapt her own book for the screen, Flynn has done a fine job of boiling her cleverly structured story down to the essentials, doing the necessary trimming but retaining everything her fans will want to see. Despite published reports that major plot changes were being made, particularly in the third act, this simply isn't true; it's an extremely faithful adaptation of what is ultimately a withering critique of the dynamics of marriage.

Flynn’s fans, then, should be satisfied, as this is about as precise an onscreen representation of the work they love as they could wish for. For hardcore Fincher fanatics, however, it may be a slightly different story. His great talent is, as ever, plain to see; he gets the most out of every scene, situation and character. But in nearly all the films he made through The Social Network, you could feel him pushing himself either to the cinematic and psychological brink (Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac) or into unfamiliar dramatic terrain (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, TV’s House of Cards). Dragon Tattoo and now Gone Girl show him working in a somewhat pulpier, more popular vein that, frankly, needs him more than he needs it.

The story of a wife's disappearance, the resulting media frenzy and growing suspicion over the husband's culpability, Gone Girl unfolds in alternating chapters from each partner's point of view; Amy Elliott Dunne's diary for a good while serves to fill in the backstory of the relationship, while Nick Dunne's commentary begins on the day the lady vanishes and continues as the mystery deepens.

A good-looking pair of New York writers, Amy (Rosamund Pike) and Nick (Ben Affleck) were uprooted and transplanted, quite infelicitously, to small-town Missouri, thanks to a financial setback and Nick's father's illness. Glamorous and sexy back East, they quickly became grating and loveless as they knocked around a personality-free house in one of the world's most boring places.

At least this is what we learn after Amy has gone missing. Nick returns home the morning of their fifth anniversary to find his wife gone, a table overturned in the living room and other signs of a struggle; the police soon find traces of blood. Hearts go out to Nick when, joined by Amy's parents, he asks for the public's help in finding his missing wife. Nick also has the support of his straight-talking sister Margo (Carrie Coon) and the detective on the case, Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens), who's backed up by cop-of-few-words Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit).

But according to her diary, Amy increasingly feared for her life as Nick’s coldness and resentment turned to outright hostility. Gradually, unsavory aspects of Nick's behavior come to light, turning the public against him — a sensationalistic TV host (Missy Pyle) eggs viewers on to think the worst of him on a daily basis — and when circumstances push the police into believing he may have killed his wife, Nick hires big-ticket attorney Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry).

The first big narrative jolt comes just past the one-hour point, and Gone Girl virgins should be protected from learning any more about how things proceed from there. Figuring strongly, however, are a colorful white trash couple (Lola Kirke and Scoot McNairy) and a troubling figure from Amy's past, ex-would-be-boyfriend Desi Collings (Neil Patrick Harris).

Affleck, who has never been more ideally cast, delivers a beautiful balancing act of a performance, fostering both sympathy and the suspicion that his true self lies somewhere between shallow jerk and heartless murderer. Pike, who has been notable in several roles over the past dozen years (Pride & Prejudice, Jack Reacher) but has rarely played full-blown leads, is powerful and commanding. Making Amy even steelier and more brazen than one might have imagined, she evinces no vulnerability but, rather, a strong sense of self-worth, as Amy seems to dare others to size themselves up against her. Physically and emotionally, Pike looks to have immersed herself in this profoundly calculating character, and the results are impressive.

Great pleasures are to be found among the wonderfully chosen supporting players. Perhaps best of all is Dickens, who underplays her basically procedural role while lining it with droll humor. By contrast, Harris performs his sicko part one-dimensionally in warped Anthony Perkins mode, so Desi emerges only as a cliched mama's boy type with no shadings.

Along with the parallel structural device and alternating narrative voices, what distinguishes the novel Gone Girl from any number of other modern mystery thrillers is its corrosive view of marriage, a theme amply underlined by Pike's spiky performance.

At the same time, the characters here, as in the book, are controlled as much by plot mechanics as by the natural propulsion of their hearts and minds; the story seems manufactured rather than a genuine expression of the human condition. From Fincher's point of view, the ultimate bleakness of life as portrayed here is similar to the perspectives of his other dark and murderous films, but this one does not stare mercilessly into the existential void in the manner of his best, most disturbing work.

Craft and technical contributions are at the expected high level across the boards, while the score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross consists more of weird electronic rumblings, spasms and burst than of anything conventionally musical.

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Re: Gone Girl reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Sep 21, 2014 10:18 pm

I'd post the rest of the extravagant rave, but this motherfucking 403 thing keeps stopping me. Maybe someone who doesn't have this problem can copy the full review from Variety.

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Re: Gone Girl reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Sep 21, 2014 10:13 pm

Variety

Justin Chang
Chief Film Critic @JustinCChang

A lady vanishes and is soon presumed dead, but it’s her marriage that winds up on the autopsy table in “Gone Girl,” David Fincher’s intricate and richly satisfying adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s 2012 mystery novel. Surgically precise, grimly funny and entirely mesmerizing over the course of its swift 149-minute running time, this taut yet expansive psychological thriller represents an exceptional pairing of filmmaker and material, fully expressing Fincher’s cynicism about the information age and his abiding fascination with the terror and violence lurking beneath the surfaces of contemporary American life. Graced with a mordant wit as dry and chilled as a good Chablis, as well as outstanding performances from Ben Affleck and a revelatory Rosamund Pike, Fox’s Oct. 3 wide release should push past its preordained Oscar-contender status to galvanize the mainstream.

After the perceived commercial disappointment of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (2011), despite an eventual worldwide haul of more than $230 million, Fincher’s latest R-rated, two-and-a-half-hour screen version of a phenomenally successful potboiler will have an easier time translating its considerable pedigree, critical plaudits and awards-season hype into must-see status. It helps that the director is working on a significantly lower budget this time around (about $50 million), from a novel that has neither steeped too long in the public consciousness nor spawned any prior movies. It also helps that “Gone Girl,” unlike “Dragon Tattoo,” registers as more than just a technically immaculate, dramatically superfluous exercise in style.

Making an impressive screenwriting debut (with adaptations of her two other novels in the works), Flynn has ruthlessly streamlined but not materially altered her story, fully retaining its bifurcated, time-shuffling structure and elaborate, spoiler-susceptible twists. (To preserve the purity of the experience, read no further.) The sheer complexity of the narrative finds an ideal interpreter in Fincher, who boasts one of cinema’s great forensic minds, and dissects the marriage of Nick and Amy Dunn (Affleck and Pike) with the same clinical precision and eye for minutiae he wielded in his serial-killer procedurals “Seven” and “Zodiac.” Together, he and Flynn spin this study of a troubled relationship into an extreme portrait of matrimonial hell, as well as a stark metaphor for just how little we may know or trust our so-called better halves.

Employing a quick still-shot montage to capture the well-kept lawns and empty storefronts of North Carthage, a sleepy Missouri town hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis, “Gone Girl” opens on the morning of the Dunnes’ fifth wedding anniversary, the same morning Amy inexplicably disappears from their home. Although Nick claims to have no idea what’s happened to his wife, it takes him little time to rouse the suspicions of Det. Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens), whose thorough sweep of the premises and dogged investigation of his personal life yield considerable evidence that the Dunnes’ marriage, like their finances, has fallen on tough times.

As the case against Nick begins to mount, his seemingly insufficient displays of grief make him an easy target for professional witch hunters like Ellen Abbott (Missi Pyle), a Nancy Grace-like cable harridan who leads the charge against him. It’s not long before Nick is being coached by not only his tough-but-loyal twin sister, Margo (Carrie Coon), but also a high-powered defense attorney, Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry). Among other things, “Gone Girl” functions as a wickedly entertaining satire of our scandal-obsessed, trash-TV-addicted media culture; this is a movie as conversant with the tawdry true-crime sagas of Scott Peterson and Casey Anthony as it is with classic thrillers of domestic entrapment like “Rebecca,” “Diabolique,” “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Fatal Attraction.”

Through it all, the missing Mrs. Dunne remains a strong, insistent screen presence, popping up in regular flashbacks to her earlier, happier days in New York, where this brainy and beautiful young woman led a life of luxury, sophistication and modest celebrity. The full arc of her relationship with Nick, a working-class Midwesterner, comes into focus: their blissful first encounter and marriage in Manhattan; the slow draining of their resources, exacerbated by their layoffs from their writing jobs; and their eventual relocation to Nick’s Missouri hometown, where he sinks into laziness and despair, leaving Amy trapped in Nowheresville with a man who has lost all motivation to make her happy. Whispers of domestic violence, spousal neglect and infidelity emerge, and other suspicious figures flit into the frame, including Desi Collings (Neil Patrick Harris), a dapper ex-boyfriend of Amy’s, and Noelle Hawthorne (Casey Wilson), her meddlesome neighborhood pal.

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Gone Girl reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:27 pm

Screen Daily

Gone Girl

22 September, 2014 | By Graham Fuller

Dir: David Fincher. US. 2014. 145mins

Ostensibly a serpentine cat and mouse thriller that will leave many viewers looking askance at their spouses, David Fincher’s guileful Gone Girl - which opened the New York Film Festival - should transcend its aura of adult sophistication to become a major hit in all territories. Awards prospects are less certain for the long-anticipated adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestseller. Ben Affleck will grab some voters’ attention as the ambiguously glib Nick Dunne, however, and Rosamund Pike’s dynamic turn as his fierce wife Amy – the missing woman of the title – should belatedly make the gifted English a star.

Flynn herself wrote the screenplay, boldly condensing the narrative, though rumours that she supplied a new ending were exaggerated. The initial focus is on Nick, who runs a bar in North Carnage, Missouri, which was bought with Amy’s trust fund after her parents had spent it. Fincher hints at his strategy when Nick brings bartender Margo (Carrie Coon), his acerbic but doting twin sister, a symbolic board game – a bizarre gesture on his and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary.

Back home, he calmly surveys the damage and disarray in his and Amy’s McMansion and calls the cops to investigate her absence. Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens), as dry as her name, and her taciturn partner Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit) search for the missing piece – Amy’s corpse – they need to charge Nick for homicide.

This sets up a standard police procedural that promptly loses momentum – all of Gone Girl’s appearances proving deceptive. Flashbacks introduced by Amy’s sardonic diary entries, perhaps narrated posthumously by her, reveal that her parents (Lisa Banes, David Clennon) had ransacked her childhood and adolescence for their successful series of books about an idealised girl, explaining her subsequent pathological need for control and the wrath she unleashed on men who threatened it. Neil Patrick Harris has a key part as the creepiest of the ex-boyfriends she burned.

Amy and Nick’s perfect-seeming marriage was a charade, despite their enduring sexual chemistry. Writers who lost their jobs in the recession – Amy’s Ivy League degrees availing her nothing – they had left Manhattan to tend Nick’s dying mother in his hometown. They had attempted to sustain the unrealistic personas each had originally projected to the other, but Nick was far from a confident dreamboat and Amy latterly feigned her dutiful helpmate-cum-wild mistress image. The film thus emerges as a damning metaphorical analysis of marital role-playing.

Less visceral in the main than most Fincher films, save The Social Network, Gone Girl is stylistically restrained, but for a few poetic touches (such as a cloud of sugar that dusts Amy with mystery). Jeff Cronenweth’s camera prowls when it needs to, while Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s score is muted.

Psycho is a touchstone (as is Body Heat), though Fincher utilises suspense as a smokescreen for social critiquing. As it traces what went wrong in the marriage, Gone Girl simultaneously evolves as a mordant satire of the mediating of domestic violence as mass entertainment. Missi Pyle (channeling US primetime legal eagle Nancy Grace) and Sela A. Ward clearly relished playing the self-righteous Glinda and Wicked Witch of network TV who pillory Nick on the air.


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