Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy (Rosamund Pike) used to be in love. But as their fifth anniversary approaches, things don’t look so good anymore. There’s been a lot of tension between them recently. And then Amy disappears after what looks like a break-in into their home. Nick seems upset but he’s also obviously hiding something – and the police are quickly narrowing in on him as a suspect.
I really loved Gone Girl. The story, the cast, the pacing – I was completely into it the entire time, even after having accidentally read a spoiler that could have potentially ruined the entire thing but turned out to be not quite as major as it appeared at first. Everything about the film just works completely.
I had read before the film that Amy would turn out to be the actual bad guy, faking her own disappearance. That meant that I didn’t doubt Nick’s innocence even for a single second. But since that is actually something that is made clear in the film after about a third of it and is not a last-minute twist, it didn’t actually matter that much to have this information beforehand (even though I can imagine it to be quite enjoyable if you don’t know that).
But in either case, what we get is a female character who gets to be completely evil and in all of the ways that women are always said to be evil: manipulation, faking both pregnancy and rape, using men who have fallen for her for her own ends, trying to punish men for their transgression in a motherly-educative effort… Amy is all of that. And not only does she get away with that (every other ending would have ruined the film since it would have made is a completely misogynistic thing), it is made clear that she resorts to this behavior because she was never allowed to live life on her own terms. Her parents wanted her to be the Amazing Amy they wrote books about. Her first boyfriend Desi (Neil Patrick Harris) wanted the perfect wife fantasy he saw in her. And Nick pushed her into the role of the nagging, jealous wife. And she doesn’t put up with any of it, at least not for longer than it is useful for her.
Rosamund Pike is perfect in the role, playing the entire emotional register with apparent ease. And Ben Affleck – who is good when he has a good director as is obviously the case here – is the perfect fit for amiable Nick, who does have a dark side but not quite as dark as is first suspected. I also loved the interactions between Nick and his twin sister Margo, Carrie Coon breathing wonderful life into her. Their relationship feels completely real.
Also behind the camera I can hardly think of anybody better suited for the film. Fincher obviously had fun with it and it shows in everything. Gillian Flynn adapted her own novel (which I am seriously tempted to read despite usually not reading a whole lot of crime fiction) and that was a great choice since she knew how to handle Amy, showing her monstrosity without making her a monster (generally I’m glad a woman wrote this). And the cinematography is great, too.
There is just so much about the film that I would watch it again in a heartbeat.