There are not many films that have played with my emotions and blindsided me so much as Gone Girl managed too. I went from rooting for one character, to believing certain things about another, to finally hating someone completely new. It makes you so much more invested in the film than you would in a conventional thriller and this is down to the structure of the film more than anything else.
The film was always going to be difficult to adapt from the book. It is told from two conflicting viewpoints, Nick, played by a clearly Batman ready Ben Affleck and Amy played by Rosamund Pike. The film adapts this well, going with a structure where we, for the most part, get Nick’s viewpoint and Ben Affleck carries the drama as the suspicious husband for the bulk of the movie.
It is Nick’s story and the interesting aspect of Gone Girl is whether Affleck’s character is responsible for the disappearance of his wife. The information is drip-fed to you, with the audience as clueless and suspicious and the community and police-force you are watching. This is the most effective part of Gone Girl, which plays with your perspective, opinions and emotions about many of the key characters.
It is done very well through the use of the media in the movie. Gone Girl captures the way media manipulates the characters in the disappearance like this and how the opinions of a country can be skewed. It offers another interesting side to the story that isn’t necessarily the central focus and offers an interesting commentary on what we should or should not believe when we watch or read the news.
As the story unfolds, the twists and turns begin to crack the story slightly. Events become more and more absurd and what is a decent dramatic mystery is turned into something quite different (which I won’t spoil here). Once the main revelation is completed though, the film loses some of it’s intrigue and edge that keeps it different, although it never becomes boring, you do feel like your waiting for the story to unfold rather than invested in it’s conclusion.
It is nothing less than engaging though and part of that is down to the two leads. Affleck carries the movie effortlessly, showing the cracks in what could be a put-upon husband or a calculated murderer. Rosamund Pike also has a lot to do as Amy, and even manages to surpass her superstar co-star in some of the later scenes.
Overall, Gone Girl is one of the more interesting dramas of the year. It is a different style of storytelling that manages to pull the rug from under the audience more than once. It demonstrates the manipulative nature of the audience and how quickly we can cast, incorrect, aspersions. It also showcases two great performances. Absurd final third aside, a very good thriller.
Rating – 4
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