Friday, October 10, 2014

Review of GONE GIRL: Fearless and Fearsome

October 10, 2014

Five years ago, laidback Missourian Nick Dunne married gorgeous and smart New Yorker Amy. On their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick comes home to find their living room a big mess and his wife missing. The media hounds and persecutes him as police detectives turn up evidence indicating that Nick killed Amy. Nick denies these allegations, but there seems to be no more way out for him. Or is there?

I am not a fan of Ben Affleck as an actor. I thought his best role was that of the ham actor in "Shakespeare in Love" because he was basically playing himself. In this film though, Ben Affleck actually does a creditable job essaying this role of Nick. His character needed to teeter between guilt and innocence, between jerk and loser.  Affleck effectively handled this tricky balance. We should not know how we should feel for him in the first act. But by the last act, the audience, especially the men, would feel his helplessness.

I am also not a fan of Rosamund Pike. When I first saw her as a Bond Girl in "Die Another Day", I thought she was just a pretty face but without sparkle. Even in subsequent films, she was icy and without passion when she acts. All that totally changed with her riveting performance here as Amy. It is difficult to describe her performance without dropping a spoiler, so I have to stop right there. Suffice it to say, this performance is her breakthrough as a serious actress. It was fearless, and fearsome.

David Fincher is an amazing director. I have been a fan since "Se7en". He had an amazing filmography since directing iconic videos of Madonna ("Express Yourself") and Paula Abdul ("Straight Up") back in the 1980s, and memorable films like "Fight Club", "Zodiac","The Social Network", and now this one. This man continually improves in his stylish aesthetics. 

I have not yet read the book by Gillian Flynn (who also wrote the complex screenplay), but the storytelling skills of Fincher were flawless in this film. It kept on surprising the audience up to the very end. His slick and fluid style makes us look beyond certain plot details which may seem questionable or even absurd. He raises serious issues about the intricacies of a married relationship and sensationalization of crime by the media. It will not feel like 149 minutes as the unfolding story mesmerizes you.

"Gone Girl" is the first film of the year that is seriously in contention for all the major Oscar awards of this year. In fact, nominations for the top 5 awards: Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay (Adapted) are all sure things as early as now, with the statuettes themselves a reasonable reality. Nominations for cinematography, film editing, original musical score (by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross), and production design are likewise in the bag. 9/10.

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