Whenever I finish watching a movie, I can usually make up my mind pretty quick. But Gone Girl is different; I watched David Fincher’s much-hyped thriller exactly a week ago, and I still can’t decide if I loved it or hated it. Based on the global bestseller by Gillian Flynn, the film gets many things right, but also somehow collapses under its own ambitions.
First off, it’s worth mentioning that this is one unsettling film. Director David Fincher paints a creepy and disturbing picture surrounding the disappearance of a housewife, and tops it off with dashes of social commentary (regarding the tabloid media) and a whole lot of thrills. I won’t spoil the film’s numerous twists and turns, but I do wish the script didn’t give in to so many crazy gamechangers. Things eventually get a tad too needlessly convoluted, and what starts off as a realistic crime story soon devolves into a whacky and implausible extravaganza of duplicity and gore.
Thankfully, Rosamund Pike’s performance keeps things afloat. While Ben Affleck’s casual demeanor serves the plot well, he’s also kind of dull and one-note in Gone Girl. Pike however is a downright revelation as his wife Amy Dunne. I vaguely remember seeing Pike in Die Another Day (the 2002 James Bond disaster), but this film is a terrific vehicle for her talents. The girl gets to play a whole spectrum of emotions, and she does it all with charisma to spare; it’s arguably Oscar-worthy material.
Finally, the less said about Neil Patrick Harris’ supporting turn as Amy’s ex-boyfriend the better; I still don’t understand how he got cast.
Gone Girl is an intelligent thriller, but it’s also a picture that carries on for 20 minutes too long and starts bordering on the ridiculous. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for some suspense, it’s certainly an engrossing experience.