Gone Girl (Film Review)

Gone Girl (Film Review)

As much as I hate to do it, I am going to have to become one of those people that cannot discuss a film without mentioning that I have read the novel first. Such is going to have to be the case with Gone Girl, recently added to the list of shows on Netflix Canada.

I was late to the game with Gone Girl, and only recently read the novel, and absolutely loved it. So I was pretty excited to watch the film, especially since it has already come with such incredible and glowing reviews, widely considered to be among the best films of last year.

girlReading the book, I figured it would be difficult and interesting on how the narrative would shift, once the secret is revealed half way through the story. How would a screenwriter and director be able to create the amazing suspense, and then completely flip the narrative, basically starting the story over again, from the point of view of Amy? The task was difficult, and the film only mildly succeeded at doing so. It never felt as thought Nick’s world was crashing down on him, as the evidence against him killing his wife piled up against him. He just never really seemed that guilty in the film, whereas he was very much portrayed so in the book.

girl3As for the film itself, it is very well directed by David Fincher. The guy knows how to direct a dark film, and he pulls out all the stops in his guidance of Gone Girl. The film is quite morose, from the very beginning, taking away from the ideas that there really were some good times between Nick and Amy, instead focusing on the glumness of it all. The soundtrack plays along, creating ominous tones throughout the film, keeping us well aware that this was not a happy film. It definitely evoked a mood, but it took away what little levity there was in the story to begin with. Even the charms of Nick’s twin sister, Go, were muted down due to the dank atmosphere and deadpanned deliveries.

The actors here are very straightforward. At points, it was like they were trying to out-morose one another, to be as deadpanned as humanly possible. I found that there is very little life behind them, and well aware that this is part of the point of the performances, I found it difficult to take at times. I just wanted a little bit of inflection!

It is understandable that someone as cold and calculating as Amy speaks in such a cold and calculating voice all of the time, but during the first half of the film, it makes her difficult to like, which is the point of the first half of the novel. There could have been more here, to make for a more dramatic shift part way through.

girl4But I digress. Gone Girl is a very good film. It really is. It easily is a 4/5 star movie, and despite my random pickings at it, it is a very good thriller. For those who have not read the book, it will definitely keep you interested until the very end, to see how everything will turn out, including the wild ending that lacked a couple of key parts (as husband and wife write their respective stories, essentially racing against one another to get it done- I thought that was a great part of the resolution of the novel). For those who have read the book, it will be impossible to not compare it to the original text, and nitpick the details that you would have wished were included in the film, or omitted, or whatever.

I somehow feel that Gone Girl should have gone in reverse for me. I kind of wish that I had seen the film before reading the book. Then I could have the one, very strong version, and then use the novel to fill in all the gaps, and get even more of the story. Either way, Gone Girl is a strong adaptation, and should be seen as what it is: one of the better films, with some of the best twists and turns in recent memory.

Gone Girl (Book Review)

Gone Girl (Book Review)

The love story of Nick and Amy is definitely one that is memorable, if anything else.

After too long of delaying reading Gone Girl, and the hype that surrounded the dark, gritty, messed up movie release over a year ago, I decided that it was finally succumb to the pressure, and give the acclaimed novel a read. Strangely, it feels like it has been a while since I have read a really great novel full of twists and turns, unpredictability, and intrigue.

Gone Girl got that done for me.

gone3This is a really strong, and really entertaining, if not twisted, read. It was so well done in the way that the narrative completely shifts part way through the novel, once the second diary becomes the primary way for Amy to tell her side of the story (I will avoid spoilers, for the 3 people left who haven’t read the book or seen the film).

The story itself begins fairly simply. Nick and Amy were forced to move back to the Midwest after both losing their jobs in New York. Despite Amy coming from money, they were falling on hard times, and Nick made ends meet with his business, The Bar, while Amy struggled with adapting to the small town lifestyle. One day, Amy disappears, and the search is on. Nick, being the husband in a troubled marriage, becomes the primary suspect in her disappearance, and must spend the first half of the novel defending himself as the evidence of his guilt piles up.

One of the strongest elements of Gone Girl, is that both of the main characters are of questionable moral values. Are either one of them good people? Can either one be considered as the hero of this story? At the end of it, looking back over the pages of the novel, and the misdeeds they purported onto one another, I had to ask who I was actually cheering for. Was I Team Nick, or Team Amy? They are both deeply flawed characters, and irredeemable in their actions. It makes for an even more interesting tale, because in one way or another, they have failed themselves, and each other, and sometimes people like that just deserve to be together, in the misery of one another’s lives.

gone2I am curious to see the film version of Gone Girl, simply because it reads like it would make a great movie, and I am interested to see how they pull off the narrative switch halfway through the story. Because it gets pretty wild. While we, as intelligent readers, always sort of know that Nick is innocent, despite his lies and behavior that indicates the opposite, especially given that it looks like he will be locked up and there remains a couple of hundred pages of story left. We know that there has to be more, and author Gillian Flynn definitely takes us on that ride.

There really are two sides to every story, and Gone Girl demonstrates that so incredibly well. This book is fun to read, and Flynn definitely creates the suspense within the narrative and within the characters that makes us keep turning the pages for the further surprises to come.