Fincher and Affleck Make An Interesting Team For “Gone Girl”
By Scott Kurland
Film: Gone Girl
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, and Patrick Fugit
In June of 2012 Gillian Flynn’s novel ‘Gone Girl’ was released and became one of the most read books of that year. It was such a hot commodity that Reese Witherspoon bought the film rights, and 20th Century Fox got the distribution rights. This was suppose to be the holy grail of films, and a huge Oscar contender. Then David Fincher signed on to direct and Ben Affleck hot off of Argo was set to star. However, Witherspoon was not cast nor was Natalie Portman or Charlize Theron. British actress and chameleon Rosamund Pike was cast, and it was a bold choice. Yet, as casting went on this film seemed doomed to fail. They cast Neil Patrick Harris who has only ever starred in “The Smurfs” movies. Then Kim Dickens who was in “Hollow Man”. Patrick Fugit who starred in “Spun” one of the worst films I ever saw. Finally Tyler “Freaking” Perry was cast, a man that you all know I can’t stand. So this week’s film is “Gone Girl”. Let’s find out if it’s any good.
In “Gone Girl” Ben Affleck stars as Nick Dunne a former magazine writer now living in Missouri as a writing teacher and bar owner. On his 5th wedding anniversary his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) goes missing. As Nick cooperates with the police (Kim Dickens and Patrick Fugit), he becomes their primary suspect as all the clues in the house point to murder. Now, Nick needs to clear his name and learn who may have taken his wife if anyone even did, and discover if she’s still alive. As Nick digs deeper and deeper he learns who he was really married to.
I was one of the many, many people who read this book when it came out and visualized who could play Nick in my mind. Honestly with everyone out there, McConaughey, Damon, even Downey Jr. To me Nick Dunne was Affleck, and here’s why. Both Affleck and Dunne have been victimized by the media, put through the ringer and came out clean on the other side....more or less. Affleck gives such a spectacular game changing performance. This proves that Affleck is a talented actor, many have said the only time he can act this well is when he’s directing the film. Well under Fincher’s direction he breaks that stigma here. Affleck makes Dunne likable, and even though I read the book I knew what type of character Dunne was. Affleck truly makes Nick come to life and the end result of this performance in those final scenes is so heart breaking and raw, I hope come Oscar time he gets a nomination to make up for his directing snub in 2012.
Rosamund Pike gives one of the most terrifying and complex performances as Amy Dunne. Pike has always been one to capture the essence of a character. Whether that essence is of endearment or pure insanity Pike truly goes for broke in all her roles. As Amy she’s one of the most fascinating characters to ever come on to the screen. There’s not much I can say about Pike without giving a huge plot chunk away. What I will say however, is this is a performance that deserves an Oscar. Not just a nomination, but give this woman the gold because she’s absolutely astonishing to watch.
David Fincher as a director has pulled off something incredible, he made me like Tyler Perry. That’s a sign of a talented director right there. This is Fincher’s tenth film, and man does he just keep getting better and better. The bleak direction and dark storytelling he paints on screen is something to marvel at. This is proof that you can take a simple story and make it complex basically by playing mental mind games with your audience. Fincher is not the only one who deserves credit here.
Writer Gillian Flynn adapted her novel into a well crafted screenplay. Flynn adds thing missing from the novel and completely changes the ending while keeping it close to the original.Flynn makes that difficult transition from novelist to screenwriter very well. It’s also been reported that Fincher worked closely with Flynn to adapt the screenplay. It doesn’t surprise me because you see his influence heavily in the dialog, but you must keep in mind that it is Flynn writing the story.
I loved “Gone Girl” it terrified me to my core, but it’s still a fantastic film. It surprises me because if you look at this cast the film should not work. You have the star of “Gigli”, Rosamund Pike who was in “Die Another Day” worst Bond film ever. Then on top of it all you have Madea herself Tyler Perry as one of the supporting leads. On paper this film should have been a disaster. But it’s not, this may be one of the best films of 2014 and certainly will be nominated for a few awards come award season. “Gone Girl” is a dark nightmare depicted on film that I highly recommend you check out.
REVIEW RATING: A