Remember how it felt to watch Fight Club for the first time? American Beauty? American Psycho? Want to have that feeling again? So go and give big boy David Fincher a tight hug by watching his new film, Gone Girl, starring award-winning director Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Please do cancel the Oscars next year and deliver all statuettes to Mr. Fincher’s house, between 9am and 4pm. Also, do create an award for most misleading trailer of the year, that still does not fail to deliver, and give that to him as well.
Let’s start with how much of the story I can tell you without spoiling the film: writer Amy Dunn (Pike) disappears mysteriously one morning from her house. Some strange signs of struggle are found in the kitchen. Husband and also writer Nick (Affleck) does not seem as concerned as he should be, and quickly comes to light that their relationship was going through a very rough patch. America and the media are quick to judge, and all assume Nick killed his wife. He denies it, but when all evidence, including Amy’s diary, starts pilling up into his direction, who will you believe?
In other hands, Gone Girl, based on the book by Gillian Flynn (who also wrote the screenplay), could be an okay thriller. In Fincher’s hands, however, it does become a masterpiece. Affleck seems to have finally found his feet acting wise, and puts his naturally not to be trusted face to good use as strange, unemotional and trying-too-hard-to-be-nice Nick. And Pike is the soul of the film, something extraordinary when we also consider the fact that she is, indeed, gone, for most of it. Let’s just say she pulls out a performance that will put Amy Dunn in Cinema History for a long, long time. Fincher’s film is definitely the game changer Pike’s career was needing – no one will be able to forget her face after this.
The soundtrack, by usual collaborators Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is creepy, haunting and just perfect for the story. Kirk Baxter also does his magic editing the dark, sinister footage delivered by cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth (Fight Club, The Social Network). Add the most wicked storyline and you have the best thriller of the last 15 years – yes, we’re counting from Fight Club‘s release date. Good enough for us to erase The Curious Case of Benjamin Button forever from our memories. And fear not, book readers – Flynn did promise a different ending for the film.
Maybe it’s the fact that there aren’t many intelligent, sharp films around, or maybe it’s just Oscar season starting up, but Gone Girl does stand out as the best thing in the cinemas at the moment. A film that lasts more than two hours and doesn’t let us take the eyes off screen, in this age of digital distractions, can be nothing short of extraordinary. Go and judge for yourselves.
Gone Girl will be in the UK cinemas on 3rd October.