Movie Review: Gone Girl by Jason Burleson

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This fall’s Gone Girl is the movie adaptation of a novel written by Gilllian Flynn. Generally, when I review a film that has been based on or even loosely based on a novel I prefer to read that novel beforehand. However, that being said, I have not read this one. Admittingly, I judge it from the previews and found it wanting. I had seen what I needed and will admit I went into this film expecting a boring 127 minute murder mystery. Thankfully, it surprised me. Not only that, it proved to me Ben Affleck can be involved in something worth watching.

Judging from the previews of the film, you might expect horror, murder, suspense, or even a gore-filled, mystery movie. I’m here to say it is not what I expected. The film is all those things, but it also takes audiences to a different level of suspense, tragedy, and emotional understanding. Combined with smart writing and interesting portrayals of viewpoints, this film plays with the audience’s judgment of a character before proven guilty. This forces you to question motives and relationships to their rawest conditions, constantly urging you to rethink events as an objective investigator.

I’ll break it down for you. Gone Girl is the story of Nick and Amy Dunne. They seem quite like the perfect little couple living in a small hometown of North Carthage, Missouri. It’s all perfect until you begin to realize the perfect couple, who have had to deal with your typical financial mishaps, are not really perfect at all. They both are career journalists who moved to Missouri to recover after being laid off. Amy however mysteriously disappears one morning on their anniversary and Nick is forced to dive head first into locating and recovering her. Eventually, the media attention used to raise awareness of her disappearance is turned against him as he becomes examined.

Personally, I loved most of this film. The psychological aspect of it was very interesting. You will immediately notice how the writers use your subjective emotions to play on certain characters and lead you into making conclusions. Ben Affleck is an excellent choice for his role as Nick Dunne. I mean everyone kinda thinks Ben Affleck is an egotistical, crazy person right? Who better than to play the primary suspect for a murder mystery? I have to give it to Ben though. His ability to portray a caring, sympathetic, and loving yet not so perfect husband is spot on. Believable as he is, Rosamund Pike does just as excellent a job portraying not so Amazing Amy. The characters have depth and brilliant emotion which have the ability to make a film great on their own.

The careful and charismatic writing prowess brought over from the book’s author who also wrote the screenplay adaptation I also found enthralling. While the character’s writing is well thought, dynamic and explored thoroughly, the most masterful aspect is the ability to play with the audiences predetermined ideas of what happened. When you think something is fact in this film, it’s only a matter of time before you are forced to question the actual motives and revelry in what you thought was actually true. There are fewer twists and turns in a rabbit hole.

Sometimes though, writing can be so thorough and so well developed it leaves little mystery for the audience as well. It’s obvious that Gillian Flynn cared a lot about this story; she wanted to make sure every event and detail was covered down to exact bits and pieces. My biggest complaint was that the film seemed to go on and on explaining and elaborating details of events and circumstances. I was ready for it to end about 30 minutes before the actual credits began to role. Sometimes the audience needs to piece together the loose ends on their own and leave a little to the imagination.

All and all, this is an excellent film I would compare closely to the layout of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. In fact, if you liked that film, this is another you no doubt would enjoy. If you want to see a dark, suspense thriller, this would be the one.

I give Gone Girl 4 “Lost Clues” out of 5.

by Jason Burleson

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