Gone Girl: A Lesson in Atmosphere by David Fincher (Review)

Settling into Gone Girl, David Fincher’s latest thriller, I had a lot of expectations and ideas.  A lot of people had tried to push this film as the film of the year.  The bar was set super high as I sat down and turned it on.

Yet somehow, every single expectation was blown away.

2014 was a fantastic year for cinema, and Gone Girl was the last movie from last year that I had to watch.  I’d put it off for a while, though now I regret that immensely.  After watching it, I can safely say that Gone Girl has been bumped up to not only one of my favorite movies of last year, but in the past few years.

On with the review.

Gone Girl is a mystery/thriller by acclaimed director/writer David Fincher (Zodiac, Se7en, The Social Network).  The premise is simple but enticing; Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) comes home one day to find his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike) missing.  I won’t reveal any more than that because I would honestly be doing a disservice to you.

Affleck and Pike are both at the top of their game here.  In fact, the entire cast is.  But there was something chilling about Affleck and Pike; Affleck the confused husband being painted a monster by the media and Pike a sort of enigma, someone who you can never quite figure out.  Her performance was chilling and deeply unsettling.  And I loved every second of it.

It was also interesting to observe Dunne’s response to the idea of his wife missing.  Again, without revealing anything from the movie, there’s plenty of twists and turns and watching him react is all part of the enjoyment of the movie.  I could probably write a whole essay dissecting the character of Nick Dunne, let alone Dunne and Amy.  Tyler Perry’s character says something akin to “You guys are two of the most fucked up people I’ve ever met, and I specialize in fucked up.”

Fincher sure knows how to build an atmosphere and keep up the tension.  Despite its long running time (two and a half hours), the movie feels tightly packed and is just the right pace.  Fincher has a knack for packing a lot of story and information into a single cohesive film instead of drawing it out into multiple films.  Because honestly, they could have easily split this movie up into two parts.  But I’m glad they didn’t.  The end product is worth it.

Honestly, the cinematography isn’t anything to write home about.  But that’s not a huge deal to me, personally.  Fincher isn’t known for his amazing camera work, he’s known for telling a great story and packing an emotional punch.  Although he really doesn’t shy away from showing anything too racy.  This movie definitely earned its R rating, though that’s not a bad thing at all.  In fact, I’m really happy he didn’t censor anything.  It added to the darkness of the film and didn’t feel forced at all.

Gone Girl is a fantastic emotional roller coaster.  The writing is top notch and the characters are super dynamic.  There’s way more to them than you first see.  But what really made me fall in love was the absolutely unsettling atmosphere throughout the film.  The dark is perfect and refreshing.  David Fincher does it again and is slowly proving himself to be one of my favorite directors.


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