People have always loved a crime story. If, however, the story is salacious and happens to be based on actual events, the popularity tends to increase the incentive to watch. One of the latest entries in the crime thriller genre is the film, ‘Gone Girl’, based on the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn. One definite plus for the film adaptation is that the task of migrating the novel into a screenplay was stowed upon is the Flynn himself. Another point of interest indicative of high quality is the director was David Fincher, a filmmaker who was built a stellar reputation on films that tend to incorporate exceptionally emotional situations and intense psychological themes. Mr. Fincher has amassed the legion of loyal fans, which will flock to the film solely on the merit of it being his creation. He is one of the rare filmmakers whose box office draw is equivalent to an A-list actor, with the ability to open a film on reputation alone. The central plot of ‘Gone Girl’ is a man whose wife suddenly disappears creating a media frenzy that places the widower under scrutiny as the prime suspect. After many years ago, a similar crime was consistently played out in all the tabloid outlets from the magazines prominently displayed at a supermarket checkout to segments unpopular television entertainment shows. The heinous murder of a human being has become outright father, the tabloid sensationalism. While there is nothing new with this, Victorian England had one of the first instances of this phenomenon is Jack the Ripper in the coverage of his crimes in the Penny Dreadful magazines of the time. To his credit, Mr. Fincher, wisely chose to eschew that means of telling the story in favor of following the fictional aspects of the novel.
Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) has just celebrated his fifth anniversary to his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), but upon returning home finds his wife is missing. The media attention is intense rapidly placing Nick in the spotlight. Amy was a bit of a celebrity as the inspiration for series of children’s books, ‘Amazing Amy’, written by her parents, Marybeth (Lisa Banes) and Rand Elliott (David Clennon). Exacerbating the suspicions that Nick was responsible was his lackadaisical and distant affect which occurred after the recession hit in both Nick and Amy lost their jobs. The change in financial status prompted a move from New York City to Missouri. The strain placed on their marriage at a serious toll; the relationship began to crumble. Another drastic change in Nick’s behavior is he began cheating on Amy. The tabloid media was quick to portray Nick as a sociopath.
By the way, sensationalistic media can significantly sway public opinion. But what matters most for Nick is the same factors have been picked up by the detective assigned to the case, Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens). This is understandable since these same elements of behavior with aptly apply to a guilty man. Slowly, all the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall in place. Detective Boney obtains evidence of the financial troubles and incidents of domestic conflict. Exacerbating the evidence is the fact that Amy had just shown interest in purchasing a gun at a recent medical report noted that she was pregnant. Amy had recently discovered Nick’s infidelity with a younger woman, Andie Fitzgerald (Emily Ratajkowski). Nick slowly begins to uncover evidence that Amy has faked her that and arrange the circumstances indicate that Nick was a murderer. To accomplish this should be certain to ingratiate herself with others in the community, faking a pregnancy report in creating a false diary with numerous entries describing her growing fear of a husband. If her scheme goes as planned, Nick will be indicted, convicted and ultimately sentenced, executed for her murder. Nick comes to suspect that she has changed her appearance and identity in his holdup nearby as a plan unfolds.
It seems that men accused of murdering their wives is a common enough occurrence that there a high-priced attorneys specializing men accused of such crimes. Nick turns to a lawyer who is considered one of the best in this field, Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry). Crucial to their independent investigation is Amy’s former boyfriend, the wealthy Desi Collings (Neil Patrick Harris). His motives are brought into question since Amy had previously filed a restraining order against Desi, the details of which Desi is reticent to share. Desi claims that Amy accused him of raping her. A major theme in this thriller is the extent that the tabloids have infiltrated public life, to the point of insinuating itself into high profile criminal cases such as this. Andy goes public, revealing details of her affair with Nick at a press conference. This forces Nick’s hand compelling him to agree to appear on a talk show in an attempt to bolster his public image.
With a running time of over 2 ½ hours, this film is longer than the average crime thriller. But this is far from unusual for Mr. Fincher. Most of his films topped a two-hour mark with some of his more well-known and intense offerings coming close to the length here. The personal metric I use, especially with lengthy the films, is how many times I find myself checking the Blu-ray players time code. Typically with offerings by this filmmaker and so engrossed in the proceedings that I never find myself checking the time. Some films are overly long, because of padded, the director attempting to fill the movie the details of the frequently extraneous, not crucial to the actual story. This is certainly not the case with Mr. Fincher. I cannot consider a single frame, unnecessary or out of place. He is meticulous with the way the crafts his films, it is quite obvious that his approach to his directorial style is meticulous planning, envisioning the movie. He wants to make before he steps behind the camera. His attention to the slightest details is incredible, the clues that he plant throughout the film are often subtle, demanding the complete attention of the audience. This is the kind of movie that interviewing you must give yourself over to completely. Fortunately, the quality of the movie is such that you will immediately be pulled into the story with your attention completely captured every moment required for the story to unfold.
After several highly publicized flops such as ‘Gigli’, ‘Pearl Harbor’ and ‘Daredevil’, Ben Affleck is back, hitting his stride as a serious actor. The manifest the personality of a man who had been accustomed to having life on his terms, experiencing his world pulled out from beneath him. His inherent likability goes a long way in assisting him selling the character. Ms. Ratajkowski is arguably best known as a frequent target of paparazzi but here she demonstrates an inherent understanding of what is required to bring the most out of her role. Rosamund Pike received a well-earned Academy award nomination as actress in a leading role for homework here. She is able to balance charisma is an undercurrent Machiavellian planning that is an ideal complement to Mr. Affleck’s performance. This movie is much like the main course at a five-star restaurant where the chef has utilized several unorthodox ingredients combining them in such a fashion that something novel is created. Neil Patrick Harris might be best known for his work in several popular sitcoms, but he aptly demonstrates an exceptional ability of drama. For some, watching Tyler Perry outside his alternate persona of the outrageous Madea on one of his many comedy roles, but this man is an exceptional actor. He might be thought of as the filmmaker whose name appears more than a few times as the credits roll up, but his appearance here proves he is a natural hazard dramatic supporting actor. This is the kind of film that is best experienced in Blu-ray. Not only does the high definition video and robust surround audio provide for an enthralling experience, the intricacy of the story and the immersive effect of Fincher’s unique directorial style provides a movie, you’ll want to return to time and again. It is a guarantee that each time you revisit this movie, you will come across details previously not fully appreciate.