Cinema review: Gone Girl

Gone Girl isn’t just a gripping whodunnit centring on a tempestuous love affair gone wrong – although if it was it would still rank among the year’s best films.

There’s a more compelling aspect to the film, though, which really puts it over the top. It’s a fascinating commentary on marriage – or modern relationships in general – that rings very true.

Obviously an average couple’s spats stop well short of one of them disappearing, but it’s a metaphor for the struggles everyone goes through in trying to sustain relationships, broken or otherwise.

Gone Girl is an adaptation – and a pretty faithful one – of Gillian Flynn’s 2012 bestseller of the same name.

Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne, a detached an average-schmo Missouri bartender, who comes home on the day of his fifth anniversary to find his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike) missing after an apparent struggle.

As the search for Amy progresses, we’re given an unsettling insight into the couple’s background through Amy’s diary.


Gone Girl is now showing at Cornerhouse in Manchester. For more information click here


Nick is a rather troubled fellow. Previously a New York City writer, he lost his job in the recession and decided to move home to small-town America, dragging long-suffering Amy with him.

Embarking upon an affair with one of his creative writing students, we learn he’s no longer in love with her, but knows his financial situation is such that he’s trapped in the marriage.

Nick is just a little bit ‘off’ – everything from his aloof, abrasive nature to his penchant for lurking menacingly around the house points to his culpability. It’s exactly the type of role suited to Affleck and he plays it adroitly.

Pike is also fantastic, possibly better. All is not as it seems with Amy, and Pike’s serene psychopath is positively haunting.

The film is expertly shot, a classic David Fincher movie. Although it’s a completely different film, visually it’s identical to The Social Network and, to a lesser extent, Fight Club.

When you’re supposed to be in a false reality, you feel it, and when he wants you to feel Nick’s desperate inner-turmoil he lets the bleakness of the surroundings do the talking.

Rounding off this wonderful film is its marvellous supporting work from Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon and most of all, Tyler Perry, who is a revelation as heavyweight defence lawyer Tanner Bolt.

Gone Girl, surely one of the films of 2014, is as important for its message as it is for its fast-paced, dramatic story.

The film itself is a rhetorical question; how much can you ever really know about your other half? The answer offered: next to nothing. If you’re lucky.

Gone Girl is now showing at Cornerhouse in Manchester. For more information click here

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox via YouTube, with thanks.

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