Oscar-nominated director David Fincher’s newest film, “Gone Girl,” is an engaging and hugely entertaining thriller and drama. I’m not sure that its dark sense of humor or sordid plot will ensure its success come awards season, but its eerie cinematography, gorgeous atmospherics and fine lead performances make it a worthwhile watch.
The film, adapted from a bestselling novel by author Gillian Flynn, has an intriguing and thrilling premise that unravels to become a deeper, more cynical take on marriage. The script, helmed by Flynn herself, keeps the viewer engrossed in the premise (even if sometimes it becomes a little campy or easy) with its quick wit and taut dialogue.
Better yet are the performances. While the ensemble of supporting actors — ranging from Kim Dickens’ detective, or Tyler Perry’s sleazy defense attorney, to Carrie Coon as the sister of Ben Affleck’s character — is strong, the leads really shine. Star Affleck plays an unorthodox role throughout the film. During the film, the audience is left wondering whether Affleck is a clueless, smooth everyman or a bona fide psychopath. And as Nick Dunne, Affleck gives an understated and charming performance.
But the film’s breakout star will definitely be lead actress Rosamund Pike. Pike has been in a plethora of films since the 1990s, most notably being a “Bond girl” in 2002’s “Die Another Day,” but she has never managed to become a household name. After seeing this movie, one is left to wonder why it took so long. The apt actress lends equal doses of charm and malice to her role as the wife of Affleck’s character. She interchangeably makes the viewer feel both sympathetic and agnostic about her character. She is simply captivating here, so it is no surprise that Pike is being talked about as an Oscar contender. And make no mistake — this is the finest performance by an actress I’ve seen so far this year, meaning that an Oscar nomination, or even a win, would be absolutely deserved.
And Fincher, known for his films “The Social Network,” “Fight Club” and “Seven,” lends his usually eerie and gorgeous style to “Gone Girl.” The movie looks great and Fincher crafts a number of striking shots. Without spoiling anything, his transcendent visual form makes the ending scene all the more haunting and stunning.
The soundtrack by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and collaborator Atticus Ross should also be noted. This is the third movie that the team has worked with David Fincher on and it shows. Their simultaneously ambient and elusive music fits the proceedings perfectly and syncs with Fincher’s direction.
Overall, “Gone Girl” is a must-see. The story can be at times a bit campy and it can provide something of an over-the-top commentary on marriage, but the movie more than makes up for these shortcomings. Its strong ensemble cast, stellar direction and awesome atmospherics make it a wonderful thriller.