By Ryan Pifer gone-girl-15

 

Hypnotic. Bleak. Erratic. Gripping. Elegant. Alluring.

David Fincher’s latest work, Gone Girl, seems to be all this and a little more as we are thrust into an atmospheric, chilling thriller unlike anything you’ll see all year. It’s a detailed social commentary about the scrutiny of modern media and a powerful look into a disturbed marriage; Gone Girl is Fincher at his confident best, delivering a fantastic contemporary mystery thriller.

The story is twisty, revolving around the mysterious disappearance of an enigmatic bar owner’s wife and all the problems that ensue. The bar owner, Nick Dunne, is a fascinating and complex, fully-fleshed out character. His reclusiveness and carelessness make even the ones closest to him apprehensive. I was rather worried when I heard that Ben Affleck was cast as the lead. I’m honestly not his biggest fan and I never thought of him as a versatile actor. But fortunately, Affleck is phenomenal here. He portrays the character with a sort of sensitivity I otherwise, would never have thought he could pull off. His wife, Amy Dunne, is expertly played by Rosamund Pike whose character is intricate and unpredictable. Again, someone I haven’t been all that attentive to lately but was pleasantly surprised with here.

Soon secrets of their picture-perfect marriage are exposed through effective flash backs. This could have been hokey or cliché in the hands of most other film makers but Fincher makes it feel tight and involving; providing further development on the characters and relationships. The other key performances include Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Patrick Fugit, and Carrie Coon — all of whom were well-cast and played their roles damn fine. Even Tyler Perry is good here. Acting wise, Gone Girl is nothing short of exceptional.

Without a doubt, this film is also beautifully shot. Fincher knows how to create a palpable sense of dread that lingers. This is primarily due to the cinematography of Jeff Cronenweth which feels simple but elegant and beautifully sparse. Fincher has always been a perfectionist when it comes to cinematography and it clearly shows here. Every shot feels significant and enthralling. Any cinematography freak is will be satisfied. Fincher also throws in a wonderful slice of dark humor.

It’s funny and clever, largely due to the fact that the screenplay was written by the author of the novel, Gillian Flynn. I haven’t read the novel but its dark humor is quite funny and enjoyable. Gillian Flynn knows how to write a screenplay and it shows. It’s suspenseful, poignant, and extremely entertaining. And also, that ending was incredible. A real punch to the gut, if you will. Without spoiling anything, I was happy Fincher went with such a bold ending. I had very high expectations going into this film – and the ending left me more than satisfied.

This all adds up to a grim, complicated, and exquisite mystery film. It’ll be interesting to see where Gone Girl ranks amongst Fincher’s other legendary works over time. But for now, I can confidently say it is one of my favorites of his.

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