"Gone Girl": A who-Dunne-it of striking originality

Oct. 9, 2014, 9:33 a.m. | By Arthi Vijaykumar | 6 years, 11 months ago

Fincher's newest film puts a twist on psychological thrillers

Director David Fincher's adaptation of Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl" is an engaging, fast-paced film with aspects to please any moviegoer. With remarkable stylistic choices and a plot that is anything but formulaic, "Gone Girl" shapes up to be one of the best movies of 2014 so far.

Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne, a man whose wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) goes missing on their fifth anniversary. As the days pass, Nick faces increasing pressure from the police and the media, who begin to believe that he murdered his wife. Throughout the film, details about Nick, Amy and their marriage surface, allowing viewers to gradually grasp the reasons for her disappearance.

The screenplay, written by Flynn herself, is faithful to the novel, allowing both people who have read it and people who have not to enjoy the film. The pacing, too, is almost flawless, making the movie's runtime of 145 minutes feel much shorter. However, the movie is just as thought-provoking as it is thrilling, posing questions about marriage and the news industry. The characters are all fleshed out, and the development of the two main characters is intricate and thoughtful. Additionally, the dialogue is darkly comic which helps release a lot of the tension after climactic scenes.

Almost every performance is stellar. Both Affleck and Pike create spectacularly nuanced characters, and will undoubtedly be seeing Academy Award nominations. The supporting cast also deliver incredible performances, most notably Carrie Coon as Nick's sister Margot and (surprisingly) Tyler Perry as lawyer Tanner Bolt.

The stylistic choices of Fincher and cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth help create the overall dark mood of the movie. The movie's murky color palette creates unease throughout the film. Additionally, shots in the film's climactic scenes are executed brilliantly, upping the intensity.

Another layer of intensity is added through the movie's score, composed by Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails) and Atticus Ross, who took home the Academy Award for Best Original Score for Fincher's 2010 film "The Social Network." Their mastery shines again in "Gone Girl," with chilling yet minimal songs that support the plot flawlessly. The seamless sound editing is a great complement to the score, allowing the songs to set the mood of different scenes without being distracting or overbearing.

Photo: Nick is questioned by the police about his wife.

Fincher is famous for being a meticulous director, and his perfectionism and care shines through certain features. For instance, rather than pretending to perform minor actions for the camera, the characters are directed to play video games correctly and type the right words in their texts, which can be seen occasionally in mirrors or reflections from their glasses. While details like these are subtle, when noticed, they make the film more engaging and believable.

Dark, gripping, and stylish, "Gone Girl" is a must-watch and a fantastic start to the Oscar season.

"Gone Girl" is rated R for violence, strong sexual content and language, and is now playing in theaters everywhere.

Tags: Atticus Ross Ben Affleck Carrie Coon David Fincher Gillian Flynn Gone Girl Rosamund Pike Trent Reznor Tyler Perry

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