"I feel like something to be jettisoned if necessary. I feel like I could disappear."
The less said about David Fincher’s latest the better so I’ll be trying to keep this as vague as possible. Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) comes home on the afternoon of his fifth wedding anniversary to find his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike) missing. With no sign of forced entry and only a few key pieces of evidence found at the scene Nick quickly becomes the prime suspect of investigation into the disappearance. The case quickly escalates into a media sensation as the lives of the people connected to Amy quickly start to unravel and the media’s magnifying glass is held up to Nick’s life, questioning his guilt or innocence.
When you’re watching a David Fincher film it is very clear you are watching a David Fincher film, particular his post “Fight Club” work. The man has managed to carve out a cinematic style for himself that is unlike any other director working today. It’s not necessarily his visuals, or music or even the material he’s tackling, with Fincher’s work it’s more of an essence that seeps through the screen and gets deep into your core letting you know you’re watching something wholly unique and something special. What Fincher and his cast and crew have managed to craft with “Gone Girl” is nothing short of a masterwork, ranking not only among the director’s best works but also one of the best thrillers in years.
Ben Affleck delivers one of the best performances of his career in a role he was seemingly born to play. Returning to a role that utilizes the actors frame and presence, his portrayal of Nick ebbs and flows sublimely from afflicted, put-upon and meek to jealous, angry and resentful and everything in between as he navigates the situation beat for beat, unfolding the mystery along with the audience never letting his guilt or innocence get in the way of the fact that deep down he’s kind of a dick. Kim Dickens and Patrick Fugit bounce perfectly off each other as two local detectives in charge of the investigation while Carrie Coon and Tyler Perry, as Dunne’s sister and lawyer respectively, help provide excellent and empathetic levelheadedness and calm, acting as the voices of reason for Nick as he works his way through the media quagmire he finds himself in. The real standout in the film however is Rosamund Pike as Amy. She owns this film, every single frame of it. Pike turns in one of the most subtle and breathtaking performances I have seen in years, bringing to life a character that always leaving you searching for answers and always wanting more.
Behind the scenes Fincher has reassembled key crew that have followed him in his previous few films. Jeff Cronenweth returns as Director of Photography, continuing to craft the sterile yet beautiful visuals seen previous in “The Social Network” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, using a muted colour palate and shadows to his advantage to enhance and escalate the tension being portrayed on screen by the actors. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross also return providing a brilliant and almost amelodic electronic score that is quickly becoming synonymous with Fincher’s work. However, the real standout I feel is Kirk Baxter return as editor after winning back to back Academy Awards for his work with Fincher on his previous two films. So much of the importance of the plot here lies in the pacing and the way in which it is presented to the audience and the way in which Baxter and Fincher have molded this tale is nothing short of brilliant. The collaboration here between director and editor is on par with the pairing of Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker and will hopefully continue for years to come.
With “Gone Girl” Fincher has not only crafted a brilliant thriller that constantly keeps the audience on their toes, but he has managed to change the form of the modern thriller, creating something wholly original and unique the likes of which haven’t been seen in years and ranks among his best works to date. It truly is a sight to behold and for the love of god don’t let anybody tell you the plot!
9 out of 10.
Reviewed by Chris Swan.