Saturday, November 1, 2014

Gone Girl (Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike)

"...marriage is hard work..."

Gone Girl is a psychological, relationship drama / mystery that revolves around a missing wife and an unhappy marriage.  I choose not to repeat the trailer to describe this movie, but let me say that, after watching Amy (Pike) and Nick (Affleck) for two hours, I left the theater shaking my head and thinking... "perfect."  Not that Gone Girl was perfect; I had issues with the pacing of the Amy character's story, and the ending left much to be desired, perhaps purposely.  To me, it is more that these characters of Amy and Nick Gunne are nearly perfectly crafted - for the message or for each other is for you to decide.  I also suggest that book lovers read the New York Times Bestseller source, Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn (Amazon Kindle, $7.99) - the first two paragraphs are brilliant like the opening lines of this movie.

Actually, I am reminded of a stage-to-film adaptation of another relationship drama: Closer, starring Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, and a caustic Clive Owen, and which garnered many awards for its supporting cast.  In Closer, the poison was truth.  In Gone Girl, the poison is lies. Nick resembles Dan from Closer, both writers and romantics.  Amy resembles Alice from Closer, both magnetic enigmas.  When characters are crafted to possess easy wisdom, but with some reliable naiveté, it just works.  I see that magic working in Gone Girl.    For those who have not seen Closer, I recommend it highly (Large Bag of Popcorn).

Be warned that Gone Girl is drama, mystery, thriller, satire all meeting with smooth transition.  Please do not be alarmed if you find yourself snickering or, in the case of one woman in the theater, screaming.  It is ok, as this movie is provocative, because Gone Girl is wrapped in classic David Fincher wit and darkness.  Fincher directed Se7en, which is one of my all time favorite suspense thrillers, as well as Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Panic Room, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and The Social Network. If you have seen any one of these, then you should have an idea of what to expect.  Many may take issue with some of Fincher's casting choices here, but I personally found it refreshing to see Tyler Perry take another turn in a supporting role (I am still reeling from seeing him on the disciplinary board for Star Fleet in Star Trek!).  Kim Dickens did the best with what she was given, which was not much, but her and Perry's characters introduced the satirical aspects in my opinion.  Neil Patrick Harris will just have to see for yourself.  The script is wonderful, and  Pike's delivery was scary accurate, but odd at times.  What little violence there is in the film is - in true Fincher form - abrupt and shocking when it shows up.  Oh, and Ben Affleck deserves respect for this performance.  Haters need to take notice.
Note: Media plays a huge role in the story including a book series, a missing person's campaign, press, pictures, and "the journal."  There is underlying commentary on all forms of media, what media does to our images and, in turn, how it may affect our character.  This is not a feel good movie.  In fact, you will probably come out of the theater shaking your head just like I did.  But as far as relationship dramas go, this was a pretty interesting journey.


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