Let me start this by clarifying that I’m not a Fincher fanboy. I actually really dislike several of his films – the big one being his cult phenomenon Fight Club, an opinion which very often get’s me pigeon-holed as an idiot or a contrarian.
I say this because fans tend to be unable to look at a film from their favourite director objectively. With directors like Fincher or Nolan, it seems like the fans have already decided that they like the movie, before it’s even released. This is an understandable reaction, but it’s the exact reason why I feel tentative when somebody excitedly tells me that Gone Girl is the best film of 2014. I will feel the same way about Interstellar, and I will feel the same way about The Avengers 2. You just can’t trust Fanboys.
Anyway, now that I have established that: Gone Girl is one of the best films of 2014 (see, now you can believe me!)
The story, which is an adaptation of the novel by Gillian Flynn, is an excellent ‘whodunnit’ mystery that will have you second guessing yourself throughout… well, right up until the half-way point, when the film says ‘fuck it’ and tells you whodunnit right then and there. Bizarrely, the film blowing it’s load 90 minutes too early somehow works in it’s favour. Just as you’re getting tired of the he-says she-says stuff, the film flat out tells you that what [the liar] says is bullshit, and changes up the pace.
The film shocked me, a lot. Not because it’s particularly gruesome or mind-blowing, but because from the cover it looks like a totally generic Ben Affleck rom com.
I was shocked by just how un-Ben Affleck the whole movie really was. The story is powerful and told extremely well. The drama is brutal and constant. The character’s are all just shitty enough to make you hate them, yet not shitty enough to detract from the film. It’s great.
As goes with any Fincher movie (still not a fanboy), the cinematography and general presentation is beautiful. Stylistically the film is reminiscent of The Social Network – overtly polished and sleek, almost clinical. I understand that many find this aesthetic unappealing, but for me, it just hits all the right buttons.
The performances are A-grade all around. I actually found myself enjoying Ben Affleck‘s performance without getting annoyed about his presence, which believe me, is an achievement. The only downsides were the two detectives, whose performances were really forced and unnatural, which in conjunction with their extremely annoying faces, didn’t sit well with me.
Overall, the film is great. It’s a fantastic story, complimented by Fincher‘s excellent direction and the brilliant performances from the whole (minus two) cast. The plot is rife with inconsistencies, but still gripping, so suspend that disbelief and get your ass to the theatre. If it’s even still playing in theatres. If not, you can stream it here.