The media are obsessed with missing and/or murdered wives. Every year there seems to be some sort of scandal of a bored housewife killing her child or a disloyal husband killing his loyal pregnant wife, therefore technically killing two people.
In high-profile female murder cases, the news media tend to bring the most focus on the victim’s story. The film “Gone Girl”, however, focuses on the side of the disloyal husband. Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) is a struggling writer who is having an affair with one of his students. His wife is Amy Dunne (Rosamond Pike), who is rich because she is the inspiration of her parent’s children’s book franchise based on a her childhood. The title character of the franchise is named Amazing Amy.
All marriages have their struggles, both internal and external, but “Gone Girl” takes it to the next level. There’s more deception and secrets in this film then there are in an entire season of “House of Cards.” On the day of Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary, Nick visits the bar that he owns with his sister Margo (Carrie Coon). When he returns home, Amy is missing. He calls the police and he becomes suspect No. 1. The overall manner in which the investigation is handled is too casual for it to be considered dramatic, yet too serious to be considered comedic. Director David Fincher and screenwriter Gillian Flynn (the author of the best-selling book by the same title) took appropriate cues from “Fargo” when constructing the characters of detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) and Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit). Boney takes seriously the dictum “innocent until proven guilty,” while Gilpin wants to believe that Nick killed his wife. These two personalities clash as they continue to go on with their investigation to find Amazing Amy.
The decision to hold a press conference to raise awareness of the kidnapping of Amazing Amy is where Nick begins to lose control over his publicity surrounding the case. Nick goes up and says a few words, the bare minimum of useful information: Mistake No. 1. He is then asked to take a picture with the poster of his wife, which he agrees to do with a smile: Mistake No. 2. At the Find Amy headquarters, a woman comes up to Nick and takes a selfie with him without his permission: Mistake No. 3. These mistakes give the character who plays a Nancy Grace parody all the ammo she needs to take Nick down in public media.
Fincher was born to direct this film. The film’s moodiness and mystery are what make the story. He has talent in enhancing those emotions. The score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross use mechanical noises to pair with rhythmic, almost tribal, percussion to add to the urgent thrill of this film. Besides a long run time,149 minutes,,there are not many things to complain about. The story and screenplay are strong, form and craft are very high, and there’s not a single poor performance by any actor.
What makes this film truly amazing is how it spotlights the sensation and hyperbole that surrounds murder cases like Amazing Amy’s.
Editor’s note: “Gone Girl” is currently playing in Sacramento at Century Downtown Plaza 7, Century Stadium 14, Century Laguna 16, West Wind Sacramento 6 Drive-In and Century 16 Greenback Lane.