After Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary, it’s not long before the finger of suspicion is pointed at her husband Nick (Ben Affleck). As the small Minnesota town goes into overdrive searching for Amy, it becomes clear that all is not as it seems.
Based on Gillian Flynn’s wildly popular novel of the same name, Gone Girl seems to be the exact type of story that would appeal to director David Fincher; a dark and twisted pot boiler where all is not as it seems. Ben Affleck does a lovely job as Nick, the husband with something to hide, but Gone Girl really is the Rosamund Pike show. Although almost absent from the first half of the film, Pike’s presence – or lack there of – hangs over the whole film, and she does a wonderful job of playing the roles of loving wife and cold hearted manipulator.
Tyler Perry gives a surprisingly funny and nuanced performance as Nick’s lawyer Tanner Bolt, Carrie Coon really gets under the skin of Go; Nick’s twin sister who is not sure what she believes and Missi Pyle embraces her bitchy role as sensationalist TV host Ellen Abbot. Patrick Fugit also turns up in the film – perhaps shedding his youthful image once and for all – Kim Dickens is striking as Detective Rhona Boney and Neil Patrick Harris is almost – almost – convincing as Amy’s former boyfriend Desi Collings.
The story starts off simply enough; through Nick’s eyes and Amy’s diaries, we learn of a couple who were instantly drawn to one another and seem to have the perfect relationship. It’s not long before the cracks start to appear, however, and the rot sets into this couple’s seemingly solid foundation. Flynn’s novel deals with twist after twist, turning Gone Girl from procedural story into something dark and slow burning, and the same is true of her screenplay. There has been comment that Flynn seems to have a misogynistic view of women, but this is dealt with well in the film, showing Amy to be as manipulative and dangerous as any man could hope to be.
David Fincher allows the story to boil, twist and turn, while giving the audience a true sense of the people at the centre of the story. The look of the film is incredibly Fincher-esque, although he allows his trademark feel to be toned down slightly to fit the story. The pacing is superb, with Fincher allowing each segment of the film to almost reach breaking point before turning his attention elsewhere and starting the sequence all over again. The trouble only arises in the final minutes of the film, which feel like an afterthought and lack the drive of the rest of the film.
In all, Gone Girl is a thrilling, pot boiler that features an incredible performance from Rosamund Pike and strong performances from her supporting cast. Fincher and Flynn is a winning combination, and Gone Girl is a mesmerising examination of a marriage, where neither narrator is 100% reliable. The final few minutes leave a lot to be desired, but on the whole, Gone Girl is an engaging, twisting ride.