Get lost in Gone Girl

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Gone Girl
Sarah Jackmauh ’15

Plot lines of popular mystery novels usually fit a certain format: the heroic protagonist risks his or her life to investigate crimes, the doughnut-eating police officers miss crucial pieces of evidence, and the maid is the main suspect.
Yet, The New York Times best-selling author Ms. Gillian Flynn puts these stereotypes to rest in her newest book-turned-film, Gone Girl.
Published in 2012, the novel Gone Girl remained on the bestseller list for eight consecutive weeks, according to ibtimes.com. Ms. Flynn received several awards for her psychologically dark and captivating novel, as stated on her personal website, gillian-flynn.com. In 2012, the work was featured in The New York Times’ Favorite Books of 2012, People magazine’s Best Books of the Year, and also appeared as Amazon’s Best Book of the Year.
Director Mr. David Fincher, previously known for his work on The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, picked up the novel for cinemas. The production crew included producer-actress Reese Witherspoon and screenplay writer Ms. Flynn herself, according to imdb.com.
Gone Girl follows the once fairytale romance of Nick Dunne (Mr. Ben Affleck) and Amy Elliott Dunne (Ms. Rosamund Pike) as it turns into a cycle of manipulation, lies, and murder. The story is narrated from interwoven perspectives of both Amy and Nick. Each one offers different opinions about their significant other.
After financial troubles plague their lives in New York City, Amy and Nick move to North Carthage, Missouri to care for Nick’s dying mother. Here, their marriage begins to crumble, and their utopian life together disappears. Then, on their fifth anniversary, Amy disappears too.
And so begins the tumultuous tale, Gone Girl.
Police and detectives from all over Missouri investigate Amy’s vanishing while her family members become increasingly worried. As the story begins to gain traction and spirals into a nationwide search for Amy, Nick’s image as the worried husband fades as his deceit and lies float to the surface and he becomes the prime suspect of his wife’s disappearance.
Ms. Flynn thus provokes both her readers and viewers to question Nick’s honesty and the gone girl’s whereabouts.
Viewers were anxious to follow this twisted story after the film’s October 3 release. According to hollywoodreporter.com, the movie grossed $38 million in the opening week alone.
Upperclassmen at Convent of the Sacred Heart, who were allowed into the R-rated film, found the movie entertaining and captivating.
Gone Girl is one of the best films of the year,” senior Ellie Denson said. “The actors, direction, and writing were so incredible. It was so true to the book.”
However, students also noted how the film unfairly depicts some of the characters. For example, the book demonstrates both Nick’s goodness but also his declining morality. The movie, however, portrays Nick as the “good guy” far too often.
“I think that the book shows Nick’s dark sides more frequently, making the balance between characters more even. In the movie, we are only shown how good Nick is and not so much the extent of his lies and manipulation,” senior Fran Hay said.
This conflict is also highlighted in The New York Times film critic Ms. Manola Dargis’ review of the film.
“Along with Mr. Affleck’s supple, sympathetic performance, Amy’s voice-over tips the scale so far in Nick’s favor that it upends Ms. Flynn’s attempt to recreate the even-steven dynamic from her book,” Ms. Dargis said, according to The New York Times.
This unfair balance would seem to compromise Ms. Flynn’s original plot line of the novel. By the end of both the film and book, however, audiences and readers leave with the same feelings of hatred towards Amy and admiration towards Nick. Ms. Pike’s haunting performance will dazzle viewers, while her co-star husband, Mr. Affleck, represents how even a perfect husband has dangerous flaws.
Mr. Affleck and Ms. Pike also appear alongside co-stars Mr. Neil Patrick Harris, Mr. Tyler Perry, and Ms. Missi Pyle. Mr. Harris plays Desi Collings, an overprotective friend who is also suddenly involved in the Dunne’s drama. While Mr. Harris assumes a serious role, both Mr. Perry and Ms. Pyle interweave humor into the bleak mystery.
Amy’s schemes are further highlighted in her up-and-down relationship with Desi. Assuming a far more serious role than his usual characters, Mr. Harris demonstrates his versatility as an actor and helps to tie the loose ends of the film together in his performance.
Nick’s unreliability and Amy’s cycle of lies keep viewers on the edge of their seats as they try to figure out what happened to the gone girl.
At two hours and 49 minutes long, the film’s length could seem unbearable to moviegoers, who would slowly disappear along with Amy. Charts, reviews, and sales, however, demonstrate that this is certainly not the case. The excellent acting, complex narratives, and complicated plot line will have viewers wanting more as the search for Amy continues.
The film is not intended for anyone under 17 years of age for violence and inappropriate conduct.
– Sarah Jackmauh, Co-Content Editor