I’m going to go out on a limb here and state that in my eyes this is already a Timeless Classic. Not everyone will agree because by inference classic implies old, or at least aged but this shouldn’t hold a film back from achieving such high appraise.
Perhaps a Modern Classic with Hitchcockian suspense would be more apt. It bears striking resemblance to the suspense we associate with some of Alfred’s greatest achievements. Take Vertigo and Dial M for Murder as great examples. Gone Girl may be similar but it succeeds on its own merit and isn’t held hostage by the chains of Hollywood censorship or the modern expectation of cliché for that matter. Astride of these burdensome limitations there isn’t a doubt in my mind that come awards season Gone Girl will get its just deserts.
When someone offers their opinion on an adapted film their line of questioning usually follows, “yeah it’s really good, have you read the book?” The problem with this question is that it puts the book and the film on a level playing field. They are not equal mediums, they are completely different even if they do tell the same story. For that reason, and the fact that I haven’t read the book, this will be a film review, not a comparative analysis. Rosemund Pike’s exceptional performance (as Amy Dunne) is in part to thank for Gillian Flynn’s exceptional screenplay but then again her performance, separate from the book or script, is enough to dispel any quandaries one might have with the authenticity of her screen presence. Cold and deeply unnerving she reaches from the screen, grabs you by the balls and whispers, “you better listen up or I’m gonna squeeze the babies right outta ya!” So much so is the severity of her ability to shock the audience that at times I was completely transfixed, unable to fathom a guess as to where the film was going next. Testament to David Fincher’s mastery in suspense film-making, his filmography speaks for itself what with Se7en, Fight Club and Zodiac, Gone Girl keeps you guessing right to the last second as a surge of awe courses through your veins when you realise what it is you have just witnessed. Extraordinary direction and, as my good friend JD mentioned yesterday, the blue and grey colour palette plays a pivotal role in lulling you into a quite real sense of security. Very rarely does a thriller cause genuine fear for the characters and Fincher has achieved just that.
If possible I’d avoid talking to anyone that you know has seen it, especially if they have an aggravating disposition to reveal spoilers. What I can tell you is Amy and Nick (Ben Affleck) have an open, honest, and seemingly perfect attitude to relationships. When Nick’s mother is diagnosed with cancer they move to Missouri (Nick’s hometown) and their relationship is significantly strained. The story is frequently interrupted with interspersed flashbacks that reveal subtleties about each character, often narrated by Amy as she writes her diary.
There is a great deal that has to be left unsaid with this particular review. Rosemund Pike is mesmerising and when you consider some of her previous roles its even more impressive. Ben Affleck brings his Good Will Hunting game back to the big screen and the whole film is perfectly cast. With such an intense level of anxiety maintained from the off the light humour dotted every so often provides welcome comic relief when you least expect it. If you only see one film for the rest of the year this has to be it but with such an amazing four weeks of cinema coming our way I’m looking forward to the challenges Gone Girl will face come February.
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