By Itika SIngh:
Like many others before me, the first thing that I thought after watching Gone Girl was – “I’m never getting married”. The film maps the marital discord of Nick and Amy Dunne who are so dissatisfied with their lives that a simple divorce can just not do justice. The movie is an adaptation of a book by Gillian Flynn. Flynn has herself done the screenwriting to the relief of her fans. Directed by David Fincher, the film stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as the leading couple.
In the first ten minutes of the movie, the audience is exposed to the not-so-happy state of the couple’s marriage; a flashback of how they met and coming back to the present – the wife’s disappearance. The initial part of the movie has all the makings of a standard thriller. The narration consists of the wife, Amy, penning her journal, giving details of their romantic history and the present, where the husband, Nick, deals with the disappearance and the ensuing police investigation. The viewer’s emotions towards Nick oscillate between sympathy and dislike. On one side, he is the charming lover and son to a disturbed father, but on the other, he is the uncaring husband who doesn’t know his wife’s blood group. But the case against him soon starts to become stronger. The wife’s journal shapes him as a violent and abusive man, and his own admission shows him to be unfaithful. But just as the case reaches the tipping point, a twist changes the question from “Did he do it?” to “Who’s telling the truth?”.
Even though the movie is replete with twists, it feels dragged at places. With an hour left in the movie, I found myself wondering why it didn’t end already, and also where Neil Patrick Harris would fit in, because he’d have to have more screen time if his name was flashed right at the start. The ending, however, can be said to make up for the slump. But it is also the ending that is the most disturbing aspect of the film. It shows the mutual depravity of the lead pair in sharp focus and even in the end, adds depth to the characters. The characters are well-sketched and intriguing throughout. The casting is spot on. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike seamlessly portray characters that traverse the spectrum of being good and being bad. The supporting actors are nothing less than brilliant. Carrie Coon plays the perfect confidante as Margo Dunne, twin sister to Nick. The tuning between the two portrays a convincing brother-sister relationship that is almost hear-warming. Kim Dickens plays the determined and fair Detective Rhonda Boney. Tanner Bolt, played by Tyler Perry, is introduced mid-way as Nick’s lawyer. His presence lightens the mood of the otherwise somber tone of the film. The one casting that seems uncomfortable is Neil Patrick Harris as Amy’s ex-lover. Though it is good to see Harris in other genres than comedy, his character is not at par with the others and comes out as shallow and two-dimensional. There are a few, very few, instances of dry humour that seem too little for as grave a movie as this.
Another feature of the movie is that it raises the issues like media trials and impact of recession on people’s lives. But here the issue is not just an added layer to the story, but rather woven into the story, directing its flow. The recession and its consequences for Amy and Nick are integral to the storyline. The movie also shows how snap judgments are made against Nick’s innocence and the media images that are made for Nick have an important role to play in the lives of the characters.
Overall, the movie is one that’ll stay with you. Even though it may leave you disturbed, it gives you plenty food for thought, and that is one stimulus that should always be welcome.