David Fincher is a brilliant director who was able to show one of the most dysfunctional weddings in modern cinema in disguise as a thriller. Yes, this is the 2014 Ben Affleck and Rosemond Pike-starring film I am talking about. Based on the book of the same name by Gillian Flynn, after its release, Gone Girl not only had a sensational success at the box office, grossing a whopping $ 369 million out of a $ 61 million budget, which was also loved by critics. Pike, in particular, was overwhelmed with praise for her outstanding performance as sociopath, troubled wife Amy Dunne. She was nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a BAFTA.
For strangers, the plot is primarily about a couple, Nick Dunne (teacher with Ben Affleck) and his wife, the wealthy and sophisticated Amy Dunne (creepy, hair-raising action by Rosemond Pike). Until one day there was nothing wrong or misleading about the couple, Amy suddenly disappears, tired, confused but leaving Nick. At first, everyone thinks of him as a victim, but as things unfold, the audience becomes aware of Affleck’s character’s manipulation and vicious perspective.
In the beginning, I mentioned that Fincher was a brilliant filmmaker. And here’s why – Gone Girl is a traditional word thriller. It starts out as a regular woodunit, and then, quickly takes shape to emerge as something more than that. A deeper observation in the minds of two broken, troubled people who are bound to each other by the promise of marriage. Amy’s constant need for revenge, her controversial and toxic love for her partner is a big red flag for serious mental health treatment.
Not only does she despise herself, but everyone who chooses only the good in her, including her parents (although according to the film she does not harm them in any obvious way). Nick, meanwhile, suffers from a terrible sense of self-worth that is not in him to leave Amy, despite the apparent neglect of her and their marriage. Lack of backbone as they say. Both are imperfect, and if one wants to see the portrayal as ‘realistic’, it would be an exaggeration to say that two people do not fit into each other. It may not be enough for anyone until they regain their sense of self through much needed therapy.
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Rosamund Pike played the role of Amy wonderfully. You can’t help but believe her when she initially shows you her sweet, elegant piece, and then take her words at face value when she describes some horrible events through her diary. And then, her reality comes out of the shadows and you are sad and shocked for her. The way she behaves before us through the various stages of her life, the voice modulation – clever, sweet, frightening and disgusting – is amazing.
And that ending, that polarizing ending, is probably the most intriguing part of the film. Why go back to that relationship that gave nothing but grief to both of its partners? This is the irritating, suffocating end to a suffocating relationship. But in a good way, because any movie that leaves you with questions about the human condition and psychology is worth the time.
You can see Gone Girl on Netflix.