Image by 20th Century Fox

Gone Girl: A Review

By Sam Ozer-Staton /// Staff Writer

 

It would seem intuitive to start this review with a warning: “spoiler alert,” before delving into Gone Girl, celebrated director David Fincher’s twisted mystery/thriller and box office smash-hit. That would be a misnomer. In fact, it is hard to say anything specific about the plot of Gone Girl, a film that embraces ambiguity in all its forms. That is because, as much as it seems like it at the outset, plot is far from Fincher’s chief concern.

Gone Girl eschews conventional notions of plot and genre, starting as an ostensibly straightforward whodunit mystery, morphing into a fast-paced crime thriller and concluding as what can best be described as a satire of all the above genres and themes.

Gone Girl benefits from great performances from Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Ultimately, though, Gone Girl is not so much a formulaic thriller as it is an exercise in audience-bating and mindfuckery. Despite the familiar theme of marriage, the film is not meant to comfortably resonate with audiences, rather provoke thought and spark the question “how much am I like them, really?”

Fincher is known for his visually technical brilliance and rapidly changing plot. Set to Trent Reznor’s dark score, the entire film felt shrouded in familiar Fincher eeriness. Fincher wants us all to think about the façades we put up, about how we misrepresent ourselves even to our loved ones.

As Nick and Amy reunite at the end of the film, it feels like a perverted Mr. and Mrs. Smith moment: energy infused in a dying relationship because of a new, genuine understanding of both partner’s realities. Rigid emotional and moral rules don’t govern relationships, the inexplicable and intangible do.

At the end of the film, despite being technically trapped in his marriage, Affleck’s Nick feels neither fully imprisoned nor free, and as Amy reminds him darkly, such is the nature of marriage.

Fincher invites us all to reexamine our own goodness by stressing the evil in the repression of true nature.

 

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