The latest film by director David Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network) is a tale of two films. Confused? The story of Gone Girl might also leave you scratching your head, but at least I am going to explain myself. For the first hour or so I was enjoying the journey Fincher and screenwriter Gillian Flynn were taking me on and then all of a sudden it changed into something akin to Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. The over-the-top second half of the film downgraded the whole thing from strong to okay. Too bad.
A romance and subsequent marriage that started off all heart and flowers has now settled into a state of resentment and non-communication. It is the fifth wedding anniversary of Nick (Ben Affleck – Argo, Good Will Hunting) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike – Jack Reacher, The World’s End) and rather than be a time of celebration it is being approached with a sense of dread. By Nick, anyways.
While chatting with his twin sister, Margo (Carrie Coon – from television’s The Leftovers), at the bar that they own he gets a call from a nosy neighbour that the door to the house is open. Upon returning to his house that day he is greeted by their cat that should not be outside. He brings him inside and upon entering the living room he sees the coffee table turned over and the glass smashed. Nick then discovers Amy is not there which is unusual. He realizes something is wrong. After a call to the police to report his wife is missing Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens – The Blind Side, House of Sand and Fog) and Officer Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit – Almost Famous, We Bought a Zoo) launch an investigation. Because of the clues and circumstances they begin to suspect Nick had something to do with his wife’s disappearance.
As is often the case during a disappearance in which the husband is the prime suspect the media enters and the whole thing becomes very circus-like in short order. Nick along with Amy’s parents, Rand (David Clennon – The Thing, Being There) and Marybeth (Lisa Banes – from television’s Royal Pains), begin a media campaign to try and locate Amy. It becomes very clear that very little in this case is as it seems.
This is one of those types of films in which the less is discussed or divulged about it the better. That being said…the twists and turns that happen in this film are enough to even gives the person with the strongest of necks whiplash. At a certain point it became too much prompting me to almost yell out “Enough!!” in a crowded theatre. They rendered what started off as a strong and believable film into a steaming pile of….something less than desirable. It all felt too forced for my liking and an obvious attempt at being clever.
Characters that began as fleshed out, smart and believable by the last third of the film becoming complete dolts that you want to make disappear. Plus all the good work and built up tension that Flynn and Ficher created in the first half of the film is wasted. A shame.