Friday, 3 October 2014

Film Review: "Gone Girl" (2014).

"When I think of my wife, I always think of the back of her head. I picture cracking her lovely skull, unspooling her brain, trying to get answers. The primal questions of a marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? What have we done to each other? What will we do?" This opening line is used to describe 2014’s anticipated mystery thriller Gone Girl. Directed by David Fincher and written by Gillian Flynn, based on her 2012 literary phenomenon that sold 6 million copies worldwide. The film centers on Nick Dunne and with his wife's disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, he sees the spotlight turned on him when it's suspected that he may not be innocent.

The inception of the film began when one of the film's producers, Leslie Dixon, read the manuscript of the novel in 2011 and brought to the attention of Reese Witherspoon in December of that year. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Witherspoon was drawn to the script because of its strong female character and its use of multiple perspectives and non-linear structure. Witherspoon and Dixon then collaborated with Bruna Papandrea to develop it. With Flynn's film agent Shari Smiley they met with film studios in early 2012. On January 22, 2013, it was announced that Witherspoon will only be producing, and will not be starring in the film. David Fincher has been announced as the director, with Ben Affleck cast as Nick and Rosamund Pike in the role of Amy. Unlike the novel, Flynn stated that the film will deviate from the novel, especially with its ending. In order to keep readers interested in the film version, and viewers from getting spoiled. Second unit photography began on September 11, 2013. Although the film is based in North Carthage, Missouri, Principal photography began on September 15 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, scheduled to last about five weeks. Casting of extras had taken place in the Rose Theatre of Southeast Missouri State University, also located in Cape Girardeau. Some scenes were also filmed in Los Angeles. On January 21, 2014, Trent Reznor announced that he and Atticus Ross would provide the score, marking their third collaboration with Fincher, following The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011).

The film stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Sela Ward, Missi Pyle, Emily Ratajkowski and Scoot McNairy. In this sick, twisted and f***ed up tale about the murkier side of marriage, the performances were all brilliantly portrayed. For the character of Nick Dunne, Affleck gave a brilliant performance as the man suspected of murdering his wife in her disappearance. For the role, Affleck postponed directing a film in order to work with David Fincher. "He's the only director I've met who can do everybody else's job better than they could," states Affleck. On set one day, Affleck changed the lens setting on a camera an almost indiscernible amount, betting a crew member that Fincher wouldn't notice. "But goddammit if he didn't say, 'Why does the camera look a little dim?'" In addition, in order to figure out his character, Affleck researched and studied several men who were accused and convicted of killing their wives. He paid particular attention to Scott Peterson. Overall, Fincher later called Affleck "extremely bright" in regard to the manner in which he drew on his own experience with the media for the character of Nick Dunne. Fincher explained that Affleck "has a great sense of humor and great wit about what this situation is and how frustrating it is." For the role of Amy Dunne, Pike gave a brilliant performance as the cold, calculating, manipulative and psychopathic b****. After seeing this film, men will never look at women the same way again. ESPECIALLY blondes. For the role, Reese Witherspoon, Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman, Emily Blunt, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, Abbie Cornish and Julianne Hough were considered for the role of Amy Dunne before Pike was cast. For Desi Collings, Harris brought an unsuspecting yet uncomfortable vibe. In the tradition of Anthony Perkins’ portrayal of Norman Bates from Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). Perry gave a brilliant performance as the "patron saint for wife-killers" Tanner Bolt. He portrayed as a smooth and suave operator, in the tradition of Alec Baldwin. For Margot Dunne, Coon gave an awesome performance for her debut film role. You could genuinely believe her as a whole and not just for one of her qualities. Dickens gave a terrific performance as Detective Boney. Ward and Pyle gave terrific performances as the embodiment of American media, Ellen Abbott and Sharon Schieber. Fincher described the behavior of the media in the film as "tragedy vampirism", and with these two it’s exactly what they bring to their roles. Ratajkowski and McNairy gave incredible performances despite having minor roles.

Dark, intelligent, stylish and Hitchcockian to the very bone, Gone Girl is the ultimate testament to Fincher's sick strengths while bringing the best performances out of Affleck and Pike. A craftily sophisticated thriller, a cracking piece of entertainment and it is arguably the most accomplished and the finest David Fincher film ever! The story is blessed by great characters and many witty and imaginative touches, in particular the conceit by which the Dunnes are each given despicable motives and personalities. As well as the chemistry between the two leads, the film has some of Fincher's best characterizations. He deftly etches his small-town characters and homey surroundings. Fincher can raise more goose pimples to the square inch of a customer's flesh than any other director in Hollywood. It is an indisputable masterpiece. Fincher called this film "The Ultimate Date Movie that will end 15 million marriages", and it is! It is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best film of the year and has gone on to become one of my top five favorite films of all time. 

Simon says Gone Girl receives:

See my review for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo at

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