When popular, renowned novels are brought to the big screen, established fans wait cautiously and anxiously, dreading the idea of such a captivating read making for tedious cinema. However in the case of Gone Girl – with David Fincher at the helm, and with the original author Gillian Flynn penning the screenplay – fans can rest assured that this cinematic reimagining is in good hands. In fact, any such apprehensions beforehand now seem wildly unjust, as this compelling, unashamedly entertaining film breathes new life into this remarkable tale.
Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne, who arrives home one fateful afternoon to discover that his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike) has been kidnapped. Instantly reporting the incident to the police, Nick earns the sympathy and affections of the public, as a nationwide search for the young woman commences. However as news filters through of the couple’s tempestuous relationship, Nick suddenly becomes the prime suspect in the case, as he has to do all he can to convince both the police and the public that he’s an innocent man.
Gone Girl is unrelenting in its commitment to entertainment, with Fincher evidently valuing such a notion above all else is this fast-paced, riveting thriller, as he takes us down several paths with a plethora of twists and turns to keep us thoroughly engrossed throughout. In true Fincher style, there’s also a steady implementation of dark humour, making for a picture that will have you laughing as often as you gasp, and taking you through all the motions before reaching the climatic finale. Pike steals the show in this instance with a fine turn, really coming to terms with the sincere, victimised aspect of her character balanced with the maniacal.
Sadly the same can’t be said of Affleck, who seems somewhat miscast in this instance. Though his impassive nature serves the character and narrative well in the earlier sequences when Nick is supposed to be apathetic to the whole ordeal, as we reach our emotional crescendo, more is required from the actor because we need to get a sense for absurd, almost inconceivable journey he has been on. In other words, he needs to look more like us audience members do when reaching the end – shocked, appalled, entertained and exhausted. Exactly what you want when watching a film of this ilk.