Gone-Girl-1There is a very high chance that many of you took to the cinema this weekend to digest the latest offering from director David Fincher. The auteur’s latest cinematic endeavour could strangely be regarded as his most mainstream, which is entirely down to its source material. Based on Gillian Flynn’s 2012 best-selling novel, Gone Girl is a film that arrives with plenty of expectation. The novel itself stands as one of the more maliciously enjoyable reads of recent years, grabbing your attention within the first few pages, and holding you tight and uncomfortably close until you reached its conclusion. And it is not hard to see why Fincher came sniffing around once a adaptation was being considered. Possessing a darkness that few director’s would be brave enough to tackle, Gone Girl is not for the faint of heart. But, like all of Fincher’s greatest pieces of work, it is a type of darkness that you cannot help but be seduced by.

On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne’s (Ben Affleck) wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), goes missing, seemingly in a violent struggle. As Nick begins to cooperate in the investigation of his wife’s disappearance, it is not long until more and more factors and evidence begin to paint the husband in a unfavourable light. What really did happen to Amy? What was the nature of their marriage? Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?

The central premise of Gone Girl is not that remarkable on the surface; a kidnap/murder thriller, we know where this is going, right? Well, that’s the thing about Gone Girl, it’s all about deceiving surfaces. Adapting from her own novel, Flynn imbues the film’s proceedings with the Gone Girl-2same mystifying suspense that silenced those critics who expected something much more conventional from her third novel. Retaining the dual narratives of her prose, Flynn twists her tale efficiently into the two and a half hour runtime. What we think we know about its proceedings is transcended with just the right amount of the absurd, placing Gone Girl in a reality that may not be quite logical enough to be regarded as our own. However, the thematic concerns and sheer meticulous nature of it all allows the material to bury into your subconscious and appear relevant, and most importantly, horrifyingly relate-able.

Thematically, Flynn’s material covers many areas that have concerned Fincher across his filmography: the aggressive nature of the media, the masks that people create for themselves, economic concerns, and (of course) acts of violence. Being on familiar ground, this feels like the work of a director who no longer has to prove himself. He allows the power and the mystery of the script to provide much of the curiosity, but is more than capable of generating images that haunt the recesses of the mind. An abandoned shopping mall inhabited by the homeless, an image of a body falling to the bottom of a lake, a cat waiting at the door for his master to return as the flash of media cameras illuminate his surroundings; these are just some of the simply stunning images that Fincher orchestrates and imprints in the proceedings.

Fincher has always had quite a skill in regards to the casting of his pictures. He recalibrated Brad Pitt’s star image, drew the best out of Jake Gyllenhaal, and here, he weans out career best performances from both Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. As Nick Dunne, Affleck provides the film with a strong pivot point. His own experiences with the tenacity of the media allow him to tap into the anger and frustration suitably Gone=Girl-3for such a situation. Yet he is also capable of evoking the numerous facets of Nick’s personality, the facets that make him a man who is equally as worthy of our sympathy as he is our suspicion. Pike, too, plays around with our sympathies whilst radiating a dangerous beauty that is utterly intoxicating. Elsewhere, Neil Patrick Harris exudes a creepy charm, Tyler Perry delivers a welcome touch of humour, while Carrie Coon is superb as Nick’s twin sister Margot.

The musical collaboration Fincher has established with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross continues to impress with a score which brings to life the boiling pot tension of the drama, easing in with more conventional themes before erupting into disorientating terror. Jeff Cronenweth, Fincher’s lenser on Fight Club, The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, lends his usual subdued grace to the cinematography, creating a distinctly Fincher aesthetic; a meticulous cleanliness which seems seeped in something much more lurid.

The beauty of both Flynn’s text and most of Fincher’s work is in its power to draw you in to macabre corners of the human mind, and make it Gone-Girl-4deliciously entertaining. From the efficiently brief opening credits, to the quietly sinister ending, Fincher and Flynn allow the twists and procedures to develop at a stunning pace. Those that have read the book will be quivering in tension in anticipation of certain events, while newbies will be instantly intoxicated by the task of figuring out what exactly is going on between the troubled husband and wife. Gone Girl is the work of a director who can seemingly do no wrong, providing not only an efficient thriller, but one that provokes questions of one’s own relationships within their lives. If this material is anything to go by, you may not like the answers you find,

5/5- A dark and deliciously entertaining thriller, which once again proves why Fincher is perhaps the best director working in mainstream cinema today. 

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