Gone Girl review

Director: David Fincher
Starring: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike

Certificate – 18

I’ve decided that some film directors are a bit like football managers! Chelsea under Andre Vilas Boas struggled but with practically the same team under Jose Maurinho they are magnificent. Sir Alex Ferguson kept Manchester United at the top of the Premiership for over a decade yet when the mantle passed to David Moyes the team became lacklustre.

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed a movie called “The Two Faces of January”. It was a thriller, it had a credible cast – Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, it was based on a best seller written by a female author Patricia Highsmith and it was directed by Hossein Amini. If you read my review you’ll know I thought it was no better than a TV movie and was decidedly disappointing.

david Fincher

Gone Girl has big star impact with Ben Affleck and slightly lesser cache with Rosamund Pike, it is a thriller, it was based on a best seller by female author Gillian Flynn (who also wrote the screenplay) and directed by David Fincher and that’s the difference. Fincher is Maurinho or Ferguson.

If you saw the Social Network you will know how he managed to take what was basically a story of an internet start-up and make it riveting. If you saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo you will acknowledge how he improved on the original and don’t get me started on Se7en or Fight Club which both grabbed you by the throat and didn’t let you go until the end credits.

If you haven’t read the book, which I hadn’t, it would be unfair to give too much away. On the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Affleck) leaves his house for a couple of hours. He is called by a neighbour who informs him his cat has escaped. When he arrives back home he is greeted by what appears to be the aftermath of a violent incident and his wife Amy (Pike) is missing. Is she dead? Did he kill her? What unfolds over the next two hours will have you on the edge of your seat.

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It’s not that the movie is fast paced, far from it. It is more a case of a simmering tension, genuinely unexpected twists and turns an excellent script and brilliant direction.

It would be unfair not to credit the actors’ contribution too. Affleck is totally believable as the almost downtrodden husband catapulted into the media spotlight. Rosamund Pike shows amazing versatility as the eponymous gone girl and supporting performances by Tyler Perry as a smooth talking defence attorney and Neil Patrick Harris as Desi Collings, a man who has pined over Amy since college, add suitable light and shade.

This film is exceptional. An adult movie for an adult audience. Whereas The Two Faces of January never needed to be seen in a cinema Gone Girl really does. The feeling when the whole audience gasps or twitches from the tension is palpable and adds to the experience.

If you love great modern cinema with a really clever story then I cannot recommend this film highly enough.

Rating 5 out of 5 stars

If you liked this you will like:  Zodiac, Fight Club, The Social Network, Se7en, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Panic Room and Argo