Film Review: Gone Girl

I wanted to make sure I saw this before NoirCon as people are bound to be talking about it. I’m glad I did, as I really enjoyed it. Though it may well fit under Anne Billson’s umbrella of preposterous thrillers, I didn’t mind and I am eager to read the book now. First can I say what a joy it is to see a film so full of women! Carrie Coon is terrific as the Nick’s twin sister, Kim Dickens is just amazing as the dry detective investigating the case, Casey Wilson, Missy Pyle — and where did Lola Kirke come from? Wow, she was great in a small role. Unexpected Sela Ward klaxon! Rosamund Pike finally gets a role that allows her to show her chops and not just stand around looking beautiful. Affleck surprisingly good; as my friend Maryann said, his blandness works particularly well for the role.

I can’t be sure exactly when it popped into my head but Larkin was there:

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.   
    They may not mean to, but they do.   
They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

A lot has been made about this film as a reflection of our paranoia about relationships in the modern world, but it isn’t just about romantic relationships. Nick and Amy never deal with the baggage they carry even though they recognise its weight. As Larkin’s poem also reminds us, “But they were fucked up in their turn/ By fools in old-style hats and coats”. How happy we are in this life depends a great deal on how much we’re able to chuck that baggage away.

Nick and Amy embrace it.

I don’t want to give too much away; I knew some of the twists going in, but fortunately not all. This isn’t a gimmick film that relies on twists to work; I look forward to watching it again and watching the twists come. I don’t tend to like Fincher all that much, his visual slickness skates over too much, but it fit the subject matter perfectly. This is a precisely contemporary film because it’s all about our consciousness of playing ourselves in public — online or in security cameras. As Vonnegut wrote, “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” Because sometimes the façade can be deadly.

Plus: ginger cat FTW!

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2 thoughts on “Film Review: Gone Girl

  1. I think this may be one of those rare occasions when the film is better than the book. I really didn’t enjoy the book that much, mostly because I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. I can imagine Gone Girl might work better as a movie because you aren’t having to live with the characters for quite so long and can simply enjoy the undeniably thrilling story. Great review.

    1. Thank you! That’s an interesting point. I don’t mind unlikable characters as long as they fascinate me. I think I will give the book a try — as I work through my massive TBR pile…

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