David Fincher (celebrated director of Fight Club and The Social Network) may have just released his biggest film yet as Gone Girl was released to much fanfare and solid reviews. Upon actually seeing the film it’s easy to see why Gone Girl achieved this much success. The film might be Fincher’s best film (who too often gives a dark sheen to an interesting story that is not written by him yet is given credit for) as it brings together one of the best casted ensembles in recent memory with the perfect combination of darkness and self-aware humor.
Gone Girl is based off of the best-selling book from Gillian Flynn about Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and whether or not he killed his wife (Rosamund Pike). Gillian Flynn adapted the novel to the screen herself, and for once this actually feels like one instance in which David Fincher actually adds to the screenplay. Gillian Flynn’s writing has some genius stuff (it has some biting commentary about women in the modern world that is done in an extremely effective and interesting manner) within it and does find the opportunities to add in some genuinely funny moments in an other wise serious film filled with dread. However, the script is not perfect. There are definitely some soapy moments that the script almost pleads with the audience to go with. Luckily, some fantastic editing, and of course, David Fincher’s directing do a great job in masking these faults. Also, for those worrying about this being a film just about a twist, I found myself buying into the commentary and the intensity of the film despite knowing the big twist and the ending before watching it. The only place in which this film truly falters is with the final moments, which never find a place to really end while also not giving any of the extra reveals time to breathe.
Fincher and the film’s casting directors also do an exceptional job at finding the right actors for each part. The two leads are quite effective as Nick Dunne only requires the strengths of Ben Affleck, which might be his most charismatic performance yet, and Amy Dunne allows Rosamund Pike (who is too often cast in one-note roles despite obvious potential) an actual character and performance to really showcase all of her acting abilities. The supporting cast is just as effective as Carrie Coon as Nick’s twin sister and Kim Dickens as the lead detective on the case are the clear highlights. Carrie Coon is having one of those “where have you been all of my life” years as she hits this performance as well as her performance in HBO’s The Leftovers out of the park while Kim Dickens is so stoic and charming in a role that easily could have been one-note. Tyler Perry (in a somewhat serious role as a lawyer), Patrick Fugit (the Almost Famous star all-grown up as a police officer), Casey Wilson (as a gullible neighbor), Emily Ratajkowski (as a college student of Nick’s) and Scoot McNairy (in a small role as a former lover of Amy) are all perfectly cast as well.
If Gone Girl is a sign of what’s to come for the fall movie season, we are in for a fantastic fall.