I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there is no natural light in David Fincher’s movies.
Well. Sometimes there is. Someone walks across a campus, or a field, or a yard. But at the end of that journey is an experience that will pulverize any optimism the protagonist might have been feeling, which by that point is usually in shreds anyhow.
Gone Girl, adapted by Gillian Flynn from her bestselling novel, has had the sun sucked out of it too. It is more or less a classic noir film, with all the trappings, which is to say: it is dark.
The premise, which we were verbally warned before my screening not to spoil for readers and I shall oblige, is that Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), both writers, are New Yorkers who have to move back to Nick’s hometown after they lose their jobs and their livelihood. Nick winds up owning a bar with his sister Margot (Carrie Coon), cleverly called “The Bar.”
And then one day Amy goes missing, and even Nick’s closest supporters start to wonder if he offed her.
If you haven’t read the book and you’re now wondering whether you should read it first, stop here, scroll down to the content warning at the end, and if you are up for that, then absolutely see the movie first. It is bloody and pretty brilliant; it is frightening and twisty and very well acted, and Fincher’s filmmaking is better than Flynn’s prose, though her screenplay adaptation is quite good. The acting is solid; it is darkly entertaining; it does everything a movie is supposed to do, and it does it well.
And frankly, this book never should have made this good of a movie. Fincher is officially a master of American cinema.
However. If you haven’t ...1