This is a post by Emily Palizzi, contributing writer from LA.
“You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” Wise words and also the premise for director David Fincher’s (Se7en, Zodiac, The Social Network) new thriller Gone Girl, which opened in theaters on October 3rd. The movie, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, is based off the 2012 novel, and New York Times Bestseller, by Gillian Flynn - who also penned the screenplay.
The story centers on Nick Dunne (Affleck) whose wife Amy (Pike) goes missing the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary. Nick instantly becomes the subject of an intense media circus and, along with an all-star supporting cast including Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, and Kim Dickens, is forced to navigate the many twists and turns surrounding Amy’s disappearance.
Pike and Affleck were the perfect choices to play their respective characters, with Affleck bringing the right amount lovable to Nick and Pike the perfect stoic gentleness required of Amy. They play off each other remarkably well and are able to create the believable illusion of true love, which is the most important piece of the film’s crazy puzzle.
I devoured the novel in three days back in June and saw the movie on Saturday night, in a sold out theater in Los Angeles, and thought it was a suburb adaptation. As a devout Fincher fan, I had no doubts whatsoever in his ability to bring the unique tone of Flynn’s writing to life which, in this case, is a deeply disturbing satire on the institution of marriage.
Gone Girl is one of those stories that will make you stop and think about the kind of society we have become. It shines a piercing light on relationships and the roles of each individual involved, and calls into question the endless competitions, the constant nagging, and the "performances" that can ultimately destroy two people. How we mold our significant other into the person we want them to be, or how we allow ourselves to put on an elaborate act in order to keep our loved ones close.
Wondering whether to read Flynn’s novel first before seeing the movie? My answer is a resounding YES. Why? As with any adapted work, the source material is almost always better. Even though Fincher’s version of Gone Girl sticks remarkably close to Flynn’s novel, there were thousands of intricacies that had to be left behind in the transfer. Tiny details that help create the suspense, misdirection, and chilling scenes, they are what make this story so deliciously disturbing and can only be found in the novel. Still, Gone Girl is an intense ride through the twisted psyche of a modern married couple and definitely worth the price of a movie ticket.