Monday, November 10, 2014

Gone Girl review; an unnerving film by David Fincher

Gone Girl was a film I probably could have waited to see.  It wasn't a 'must-watch' for me, and that's probably because I wasn't familiar with the source material.  David Fincher's film about a husband accused of killing his missing wife, is based on the best selling novel of the same name; written by Gillian Flynn.  Flynn also wrote the screenplay to the film.  David Fincher directs Ben Affleck in a role that is very different from anything else he's ever done in his career.  Rosamund Pike plays Affleck's wife; and it just gets crazy from there.  Let's go!

What I liked about the film:
David Freakin' Fincher
Fincher is a tremendous talent, respected by so many people in Hollywood.  He has produced one commercially successful film after another.  And has been nominated for 2 Academy Awards for Best Director.  His signature style is apparent in every scene of the film.  The tone of the movie, and it's dark subject matter grab the audience from the very first scene.  Fincher plays with the audience as if we're nothing more than puppets at his mercy.  The settings, cinematography and more, all serve a purpose in manipulating our emotions.  Fincher's meticulous work paid off in so many ways with this film.  He is terrific.

The Story
Holy crap the story!  I wont spoil anything here, but the story is one of the best I've seen play out on the big screen in a long time.  Ben Affleck is accused of murdering his wife, and we have to figure out if he did it or not, as the story moves along.  I'm going to leave it at that, because I really will spoil the film if I say anymore.  Trust me, and go watch the film, if for nothing else but to see if Affleck's character really did commit the crime or not.

The Acting
Affleck is great in this movie.  You never know how to feel about him.  Did he do it?  Did he not do it?  I don't know, I'm not telling you here!  He's always had the charm to capture an audience, but there are some deep seeded issues with this character that he only subtly brings to the surface.  I also really enjoyed Rosamund Pike's performance as Affleck's missing wife.  She plays the role PERFECTLY, and while it's early, I'm predicting at least a Golden Globe nomination.  Great lead actors here!

I also want to take a moment to talk about the great supporting cast as well.  Kim Dickens plays a Detective who hasn't quite figured out Affleck's character yet.  She is basically sitting in for the audience, piecing together the clues to figure out just what the hell is going on.  Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry play small, but pivotal roles in the film, and are very good.  For me, the scene stealer was Carrie Coon, Affleck's twin sister.  She is PHENOMENAL in this movie.  Sweet and supportive with an undoubted chemistry with Ben Affleck on screen.  Then, when the story gets really heavy, she portrays an emotionally exhausted young woman trying to make sense of everything that's happening around her.  I have already looked up Coon's other films, so I can see more of her work.

What I didn't like about the film:
The Pacing/Third Act
The movie is long, but I'll get into that in a moment.  The movie moves at a really fast pace.  It is engaging and keeps you at the edge of your seat for two/thirds of the film.  And this is in large part due to a great script by Flynn.  But what I think happened was, the third act in the book, plays out differently than that of the film.  It wasn't as tight as the first half of the film, and didn't us guessing like it did before.  Plot holes reared their ugly heads, and the absurdity of some scenes totally pulled me out of the movie.

Run Time
The movie is about 30 minutes too long.  But here's my dilemma; without watching it again, I honestly don't know what I would have cut out of the film, off the top of my head.  I also don't know how true to the novel the film is, so I can't say it was to serve that purpose.  All I know is, by the end of the film, I was emotionally spent and ready to watch a Pixar film.

The Ending
Oh the ending.  In terms of the story being told, and the situation the characters are in, it's not a very believable ending.  And I think that's why I have it on my 'didn't like' list.  The movie is very serious, very dark and at times, difficult to watch; but it was realistic for 99% of the film.  It's one of those movies where you say, 'that could happen', over and over again.  But the ending comes, and you just roll your eyes in disapproval.  I did at least.

The Verdict:
An excellent film that will stay with me for a long time
Usually when I say 'a film will stay with me for a long time', it's because it was inspirational in some way.  Not this movie!  It's a very serious film, well written, and directed by a terrific talent.  Fincher and company will be contenders during awards season, from what I've seen so far this Fall.  I loved the acting and respected what they did with the story, until just about the end.  There are other aspects of the film I enjoyed as well, that I didn't mention; such as the score and production design.  Just all around great work.  Go see the movie, if for nothing else, than to be able to discuss the ending!

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