I was not ready for Gone Girl. I was not ready for what it did to me while I was watching it. Having not read the book from which the film was adapted, I didn't know what to really expect from it. Sure, having names like David Fincher and Ben Affleck attached to the project gives it a certain level of gravitas so I at least expected a good film. I got much more than what I bargained for.
The most frustrating thing about writing this review is that you can't say much without spoiling many of the delicious and dark twists the movie has in store for you. The best thing to do is to go see the film as ignorant as you can be about it.
Here's a brief and spoiler-free synopsis: The movie revolves around Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy (Rosamund Pike) Dunne and the disappearance of the latter. Her disappearance not only affects Nick but the entire city of Missouri where they live. People gather in meetings, perform searches around the city and offer support to the worrying husband. But, a very erratic behavior from Nick starts raising suspicions that he is not the anguished husband looking for his wife. The search is intertwined with moments of Nick and Amy's marriage and secrets start coming out making everything seem confusing and untrustworthy. Soon, national media get the story and Nick finds himself in the center of the storm and subject to the whole country's scrutiny and opinion.
In typical Fincher fashion, the world is devoid of warm colors, making everything look cold and uninviting. It seems like a typical suburban neighborhood but there's something unnatural about it. Fincher makes sure to let you know that there's something off here. The characters behave in restrained fashion, without giving out too much emotion making the moments when they actually explode much more powerful. As with most of his films, Fincher plays moral ambiguity at its fullest making really sure the main characters are covered in grey areas.
The shock moment comes when you think you know many details on what's going on and then, the film just pulls the rug under you and everything you see just becomes unreliable. Sympathies are turned and you don't really have a clear picture of what's going on. Thanks to Fincher's assured direction, this do not feel like a cheat but it's a genuine twist that adds immensely to the story. The tension is kept throughout the entire film as you keep wondering what the characters are going to do. You hate and sympathize with them multiple times over the film and there's no hero in the story, no character that you feel you can unabashedly invest in. All the characters must be taken with tweezers.
What makes Gone Girl even more impressive, is how timely it feels. All its themes: unemployment, recession, marriage, secrets, dishonesty, obsession with media and fame, manipulation, among others, just makes the film a relevant commentary of how we live in the world nowadays. Amy's disappearance can very well apply to many of the headlines we see or read in the news and how we react to them. The themes come in a subtle matter and do not come heavy handed or feel forced fed to us. They are a very important of the story and they are handed wonderfully.
I can't finish this review without praising Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike's performances. Affleck gives a wonderfully restrained yet unsettling performance and Pike is an absolute revelation. She commands the screen with her presence and no doubt she will be a big name when awards season come. Their performances, matched with Fincher's stellar direction and enveloped with Reznor and Ross' score just makes the perfect thriller.
Gone Girl is dark, twisted and great. A spellbinding story that will absolutely mess with you the entire time making you feel disoriented and shocked. Chances are that you will leave the theater without fully understanding all the feelings you are having about it. The one thing you'll know for sure though, is that you just watched a masterpiece. Rating: 5/5.