Gone Girl

Gone Girl ★★★★★

"Yes, I loved you and then all we did was resent each other, try to control each other. We caused each other pain."
"That's marriage."

The flash of the news reporters' cameras, the blood splatter on the walls, the burnt journal, the red panties, the hair dye, the Valentine's heart pen, the pregnancy test, the Punch and Judy mallet, the anniversary treasure hunt. This is David Fincher's superb Gone Girl, one of the most pure, pristine, and amazing pieces of cinema I've ever had the privilege to experience.

The end credits of a film are not really given the respect they deserve. I am, however, a hypocrite, as I never stay for a film's credits. Ideally, an audience would show the cast and crew of a film the respect they deserve by staying and reading the name of everyone that helped make the film they just experienced. But, who am I kidding, people have been sitting down for hours, probably have to go to the bathroom, and really just want to get back home. Myself included. But, this was not the case with Gone Girl. No, when the final frame of the film came and went and the credits rolled, I didn't dare stir from my seat. Instead, I simply sat in shock, amazed at the film I just saw. I even said, aloud, "Oh my fucking God," when the film ended. I didn't care. I was just amazed. Even after the credits were over, I still stayed in my seat for a moment, until I could finally get myself to move.

In the film Amélie, the title character is sitting in a cinema as she says that she likes to turn around in the middle of the film and watch the faces of the people in the dark. In the film, we see dozens of smiling, happy people, completely entertained by the film which they are watching. If Amélie was in the cinema with me while watching Gone Girl, she would have turned around and seen me, staring transfixed at the screen, my mouth wide open in shock and awe, completely forgetting everything around me. To further prove my point, at some moment in Gone Girl, I dropped my popcorn but was so transfixed in the film that I didn't even notice until I left. And I love popcorn.

I have not read Gone Girl, despite fervent recommendations from my mother, and the only understanding of the plot I had was "Girl is gone." I knew that Ben Affleck starred and David Fincher directed. I knew nothing else of the film's plot, and I, most importantly, knew nothing of the twists and turns. So, unlike my other reviews, I am not going to let loose a single detail about this film's plot. I am not a "plot" kind of guy: film is a visual medium, and so most of its ideas should be communicated through its images, not its dialogue (there's a reason why I love 2001: A Space Odyssey so much), but for once I'm breaking my own rules: the less you know about the plot, the better.

I love film: I think it's one of the most entertaining art forms, the only art form capable of integrating all the other ones, and one of the most effective ways to communicate large ideas on a large scale to a large audience. Every once in a blue moon, there is a film that comes along that reminds me of everything cinema has to offer. A film which, put simply, encapsulates the greatest thing about film: cinema in its absolute purest form. Gone Girl is one of those movies. I was pretty much convinced that Dear White People was going to end up being my favorite movie of 2014 (despite not having seen it yet), but I was wrong: there is no way that Gone Girl is not taking that crown.

This film takes a pulpy plot with some of the most contrived plot twists ever written, requiring a suspension of disbelief the level of which I have rarely encountered, but it still works. Just from one viewing, I am convinced that this is David Fincher's masterpiece (though I haven't seen Se7en yet). It is very likely that I'm overreacting, simply being taken so off guard by this movie, but I don't think I am. Gone Girl is one of the most entrancing, hypnotizing, unforgiving movies ever put to film. The film has wonderful, wonderful performances (I was happy to see that Rosamund Pike, who I'd only seen in The World's End, was able to pull off a dramatic role so well, giving one of the best performances of the decade so far). The soundtrack, while I disliked it at first, is truly amazing, creating a beautiful atmosphere that becomes more and more oppressive as the film continues. Gillian Flynn's screenplay is remarkable: even though she reportedly hasn't changed much from the book, her writing makes the transition seamless. And David Fincher's direction in this film is flawless and rarely rivaled: his glossy thriller style fits this film better than any other director possibly could. Fincher and Gone Girl was a marriage made in heaven. Book-to-film adaptations can be difficult, often times making a shaky transition, but, while I can't speak for fans of the book, I for one find it difficult to come up with any criticism for this film whatsoever.

I urge anyone reading this who was thinking about waiting on this film to jump at the absolute earliest opportunity to see it. Simply due to the nature of the story, there is a lot of audience manipulation, but Fincher handles it, and every other aspect of the film, to be honest, so perfectly that I had no problem with it. I wouldn't be surprised if I went to go see this again, and I really think that everyone needs to give Gone Girl a chance. This is an interesting, intriguing, and nuanced mystery. As each layer was slowly pulled away, revealing another ugly and terrifying reality, the questions slowly became clearer and clearer, slowly showing us the hideous reality of this world.

"What are you thinking? What are you feeling? What have we done to each other? What will we do?"

Block or Report

Michael liked these reviews