feedingbrett’s review published on Letterboxd:
Review In A Nutshell:
David Fincher is a master, simply put. Gone Girl simply adds on to his already glorious filmography.
Gone Girl on the surface is a who-done it thriller that puts you on the edge of your seat. I did the right thing by not letting myself have any sort of knowledge towards the source material, unlike The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Gillian Flynn's screenplay, whom also wrote the book, explores the ideas of marriage and gender roles. Flynn wants the film's audience to gain a taste of both sides of a marriage, it may seem one sided during the first 40 minutes but it provides an extraordinary reveal that allows the viewers to gain a complete understanding of the situation. I was doubtful for a couple of scenes after the reveal, on whether or not the film would still be able to hold my attention and interest, but it surprised me as it becomes less of a typical Hitchcockian thriller like Rebecca or Rear Window, and instead more of the director's sophisticated works, Vertigo. Fincher paints its first half with that dark atmosphere that dominated heavily in his previous film, which I adored, and this allowed the plot to seem more than just a blockbuster thriller. He also took this as an opportunity to pay homage to Hitchcock's Vertigo through its second and third act of the film, and he channels that with Flynn's two leading characters; he was able to create that scare on his audience that Vertigo was also able to deliver in its second half; I can confirm this as everyone else in the theatre felt the same way.
Fincher also uses the film's story as an opportunity to speak about the role of the media in small domestic problems. The story only blew out of proportion due to their persistent presence and the characters of the film uses this in trying to pull the audiences to their favour. Fincher uses this as well in playing with our emotions in whom we should sympathise with, up until the third act of course when we have learnt enough about the situation and the character's personalities, that we gain our own opinions which would shape on how we feel about the film's conclusion.
The film's photography, handled by Jeff Cronenweth, provides the stylish quality that connects strongly with Fincher's intentions. It not only shapes the atmosphere of the film's setting but also the personalities of its characters. The film's musical score was handled by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who has worked on Fincher's previous two films. Similar to what Cronenweth brought, the composers delivered a score that creates a gloomy atmosphere that initially aims to thrill us and eventually leaves us frightened. I could never imagine the director working with another cinematographer or composer, the three elements come together so well and their last three films together prove that.
The performances in this film was fantastic, right up there to what Fincher was able to bring out from his actors in The Social Network which was his best film in regards to performances. Ben Affleck arguably has delivered the performance of a lifetime in this film. He keeps us on our toes, creating a sense of ambiguity to his character and not clearly knows his character's true agenda until the story demands it to be revealed. Rosamund Pike was able to surpass Affleck with every scene, providing layer upon layer for the role and creating that air of unpredictability that would certainly leave viewers stunned during a couple of times. If she does not receive an Academy Award for this then the members of the Academy are mentally damaged. The rest of the supporting cast, especially Carrie Coon and Kim Dickens were equally strong with their performance as each character stood out, rather than just simply blending in to the film's background.
It is still too early for me to decide whether or not this film surpasses the perfection that is The Social Network, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did. Gone Girl has all of the ingredients that one looks for in a perfect film, and if this film does not gain the recognition it deserves during award season, then I would plan out the perfect revenge in ensuring that justice has been served.