Film | Gone Girl – A simple premise that will leave you wriggling in your seat

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

How well do you really know the person sleeping next to you? Do you know what they’ve done? Do you know what they’re capable of? More importantly…do you want to?

These are the questions posed by Gone Girl, a film which rips apart a marriage and dissects it, shows the gory workings of a couple’s private life and leaves the audience wriggling in their seats. The premise is relatively simple; a beautiful suburban housewife goes missing and her shady husband becomes the prime suspect. It’s difficult to say any more about the plot without giving the game away, though those that have read the source material (Gillian Flynn’s 2012 novel of the same name) will certainly know what happens next.

Directed by David Fincher, the man responsible for shocking and thrilling audiences in equal measure ever since we found out what was in the box in Se7en, it stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as the unhappily married couple. It’s a film that builds slowly, never leaving the audience behind but never dragging on or labouring a point. Anyone familiar with Fincher’s filmography will recognise traces of the works that precede Gone Girl (such as 2007’s true crime masterpiece Zodiac and 2009’s biopic The Social Network), from the bleak cinematography that creates a feeling of claustrophobia in the setting of small-town Midwestern America to the impeccable score by returning Fincher collaborators Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

A true character study, the film succeeds largely on the performances given by its two leads. Ben Affleck is likable and loathable in equal measure as the handsome husband with a few skeletons in his closet, but it’s Rosamund Pike who really shines, delivering a chilling, pitch perfect performance as Amy Dunne. By no means is Gone Girl comfortable viewing, leaving the audiences with more questions than answers and perhaps even feeling slightly cheated by the ending, which is likely to divide audiences just as it has readers worldwide. What is certain however is that Gone Girl gives pause for thought. It may seem all too easy to dismiss as fiction at first, but this is a film that sticks in your head, a film that doesn’t offer any clean getaways, and proves once again just why David Fincher is considered a master of his craft.

Hannah Woodhead

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