GONE GIRL. Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon, and Tyler Perry. Directed by David Fincher. Rated MA 15+. Restricted (Strong sexualised violence, blood, sex scenes and coarse language). 149 min.
By John Mulderig
A JAUNDICED view of marriage permeates the abrasive drama Gone Girl.
In fact, director David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel presents the married state as a claustrophobic cage in which disillusioned spouses are left to tear away at each other like a pair of angry weasels.
The seemingly inevitable misery that results from exchanging vows, moreover, is at least implicitly contrasted, in Flynn’s screenplay, with the bliss afforded by the kind of fully sexual but as yet uncommitted relationship that today so often precedes a trip down the aisle.
Such, at least is the experience of Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy (Rosamund Pike) Dunne.
This apparently happy suburban couple’s dark post-nuptial secrets begin to be revealed after Amy disappears and all clues seem to suggest that Nick has murdered her.
Fortunately for Nick, Detective Boney (Kim Dickens), the lead investigator on the case, is reluctant to jump to conclusions.
And Nick’s twin sister, Margo (Carrie Coon), is steadfast in her support for him, despite the mounting negative evidence.
Gone Girl features some fine acting – especially the agile mood-swings registered by Pike – and a series of clever plot twists.
It also gets in some telling jabs at the manipulative influence of the media, especially via the character of self-righteous, perpetually outraged TV host Ellen Abbot (Missi Pyle).
At the same time, however, the movie showcases seedy sexual behaviour in an exploitative manner.
And the proceedings become blood-soaked during a climactic scene – not to be described for fear of a spoiler – that’s played for shock value.
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.