I finally managed to watch Gone Girl last night; David Fincher’s dark, unnerving thriller, and I highly recommend it. Based on the brilliant 2012 novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn (she also wrote the screenplay for the film) it tells the story of Nick Dunne, who’s wife, Amy, appears to have gone missing on their 5th wedding anniversary. After a morning coffee in town Nick returns home to find the door wide open, the lounge smashed up and no sign of Amy. She has been made famous by her parents’ children’s books featuring ‘Amazing Amy’ and soon there is nationwide interest in her disappearance.
The film then starts shifting from the present to Amy writing diary entries back from when her and Nick first met. They start off as the seemingly perfect couple then both are made redundant from their writing jobs, Nick’s mother becomes ill, and they consequently move from New York City to Carthage, Missouri (Nick’s hometown). Amy uses the last of her trust fund to buy Nick a bar, which he runs with his twin sister, Margot, whilst she becomes more and more alienated. Through these diary entries we also learn of a darker side to Nick, with her final entry stating that “this man may kill me”. The two narratives then converge as the tension builds and the plot twists and turns.
It is a gripping neo noir thriller with an atmosphere of simmering malice that both unnerves and provokes. Ben Affleck and Rosamind Pike are, to my mind, perfectly cast; embodying the twisted, soulless, narcissistic sociopaths that we come to learn both Nick and Amy are. I read the novel a year ago and, I have to say, I think the film does the book perfect justice and the leads in the film are just how I imagined the characters to be when I was reading. I’m sure much of this is helped by the fact that (very wisely) the author of the novel also wrote the screenplay.
It is a story largely about image and perception; about the fickleness of the public and the masks we wear. The disparity between our true selves and the person we present to the world. How well do we really know another person, even those closest to us? I’m sure a lot of us can identify with that.
Both the film and the book are gripping, sharp and darkly compelling. I urge you to take a look.