Director: David Fincher
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon
How can you adapt one of the most popular books of the last 5 years? Answer: get David Fincher to direct the film! I had problems with Gillian Flynn’s novel of the same name. I found Gone Girl the novel to be a bit slow and difficult to get into. Unlike a lot of other people, it took me a long time to get through the novel. However, the film didn’t have that problem.
Despite its 149 minute running time, the film seemed to speed by. I was hooked from start to finished and really enjoyed the film as a whole. David Fincher really managed pull off what a lot of people have failed to do in the past; make an adaptation of a book which is better than its source material.
Gone Girl follows the story of Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck), a man who’s life is turned upside down when he finds that his wife, Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), has seemingly been kidnapped. Nick quickly becomes the centre of the investigation and an intense media frenzy, not unlike a witch hunt. The question remains, did Nick Dunne really kill his wife?
Fincher has the reputation of being a perfectionist when it comes to his films, almost a control freak. It has been reported that he makes his actors do take after take and that he really works them to the bone. In Gone Girl, and most of his films, Fincher’s controlling nature has paid off. Each shot has an almost overworked quality which in a film such as this, seems right at home. He uses a slightly dark brown looking filter which creates a sense of foreboding which always has you on the edge of your seat. When Fincher shoots the houses, the streets … everything, there is an almost empty feeling, much like you are looking into a doll’s house, a dead world in which nothing can survive. This increases the tension profusely.
Fincher’s direction isn’t the only aspect of the film that increases the feeling of foreboding and dread. He has once again teamed up with Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and English composer Atticus Ross, who together won the Academy Award for Best Original Score for The Social Network back in 2010. I wouldn’t be surprised if their names are be back in the fray to win 2015’s award as well.
Together, they manage to help create a feeling of a constant, almost lurking, danger, never really seen, but always heard. They manage to do this subtly, the score never detracts from the movie, yet it’s always present. The best scores are always the ones that you don’t realise are there until you leave the cinema. They are like an ear worm that come back to you in waves, bringing with them the emotions you felt whilst watching the movie. Reznor and Ross a true masters of their craft, as is Fincher, and together they have managed to forge a relationship which has resulted in truly remarkable filmmaking.
This man may truly kill me!
Fincher also has his casting director to thank, because Gone Girl is incredibly well cast. Who better than Ben Affleck to play a man who can be disliked one moment and loved the next. Rosamund Pike is wonderful as Amy Dunne (I don’t want to give too much away about her character – maybe I already have done by writing this). I wouldn’t be surprised if her name is bandied about come awards season. Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon and Kim Dickens are all brilliant in their respective roles.
Yet the real coup de grâce was casting Tyler Perry (writer/director and star of such classics as Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Neighbors From Hell, Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas and who could forget, Meet the Browns) as Tanner Bolt; the slimy, despicable yet deviantly resourceful lawyer who’ll defend anybody if there’s a fat paycheck at the end of it. It’s incredible to think that if he had known who David Fincher really was he would have said no to the project, ridiculous!
Despite all of this, the film isn’t without its flaws. Gillian Flynn did a decent job with the script and does well in bringing her written words to the screen, yet her dialogue doesn’t have the intelligence that Aaron Sorkin’s did in The Social Network, and in some cases the use of swear words seem a bit forced. There’s also that ending, which I found to be both troublesome in the book and the film, however I don’t want to discuss spoilers here.
Overall, I loved Fincher’s Gone Girl. It was full of tension, brilliantly directed, and most importantly, it was entertaining. Fincher has proved yet again that he is a master of his craft, an exemplar of filmmaking. He has taken a book which many love, and put his mark on it, delivering an excellent film, which everyone should see, regardless of whether they read the source material or not.