May 30: Gone Girl | Cohost Choice
In the category of Cohost’s Choice, Scott has chosen for Max to watch Gone Girl (2014), directed by David Fincher, written by Gillian Flynn, and starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Emily Ratajkowski, and Neil Patrick Harris.
As somebody who likes both Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike a lot, I’ve been meaning to watch Gone Girl for a long time. Which is why it’s an easy pick as far as an old Scootz recommendation goes.
So how did I feel about it? Well, Gone Girl isn’t perfect, but it’s damn good. It’s a well written psychological thriller that explores gender roles, marriage, infidelity, revenge, and self-control (or a lack of). Having just watched the delightful Basic Instinct, I was jonesing for some thriller — and in that department, Gone Girl did everything right.
The basic premise here is that Amy Dunne goes missing, and it looks like murder. And it more and more looks like her husband Nick did it. So we spend a good chunk of the film to establish doubt around our character. We’re with Nick the whole time, and we haven’t seen him murder his wife. But boy, does it seem like it more and more.
If I have any complaint with this film, it’s about this section of the film. Its pretty clear that someone set Nick up, but the film is meandering through the details. I know they’re establishing doubt, and also creating some suspicion around the entire ordeal — and they want us to meet all the players, as well. But after a while, I was just ready to move on and find out what is going on.
This is a long ass film. Like, 2 hours and 29 minutes long. And while it earns that runtime, I was a little worried and my brain wandered a bit before the big reveal.
But when that reveal finally hits — boy, it’s like a new movie starts. It’s almost as if the first hour is simply a background film that leads up to the duality of stories between Pike and Affleck. It’s a great reveal — even when I was suspecting some kind of foolery to be going on — I didn’t expect to see it to such an extent.
And really, that’s where this film moves from an interesting story to something more memorable. I was instantly compelled more and more as we saw how Amy put everything together and made it happen. While her camping out sequences felt directionless, Pike does such a good performance that I still watched with glee. Where her story takes her next is even better — and her return to the Nick’s life right when things got worse for him made it all the more special.
After his passionate rebuke of himself and his plea to Amy on national television, Nick was in a tight spot with her return. Yet now he finds himself once again handled by his wife in a way he’s uncomfortable with. He’s gotten what he wanted — to be cleared of the murder — but the trade off is that he’s stuck with this woman who orchestrated his downfall. He’s stuck with her, and she’s even more dedicated to him, and he’s now lost the control he once had.
It’s a great turn of events, and I really loved the ending of this film. While I would have zero qualms with an unhinged Rosamund Pike gaining an uncontrollable power over me, they show us with the film that Amy sees herself in the right (“I killed for you”), while Nick just wants to be free from it all now. He doesn’t want to live a lie. Yet he will, at least for 18 more years.
There are a lot of funny themes and messages you can pull from this film — about relationships and marriage and infidelity and life and death. Yet they might seem cliche away from the movie. However, I think that what this movie does well — give you just some damn good storytelling without treating you as you’re dumb or pulling any gotcha moments on you — it does very well.
I’m not sure if this would go in my favorite movies of all time list — I need to sit and think about it some more, but it’ll definitely go to the top of my David Fincher list.
Want to keep up with the rest of our scavenger hunt? Check out the rest of our May Movie Challenge here.
Also, check out this video from kaptainkristian on the invisible details of David Fincher’s work: