Movie Discussion: Gone Girl
Warning! This entire discussion contains spoilers for Gone Girl.
With his wife's disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it's suspected that he may not be innocent.
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Director: David Fincher
Writer: Gillian Flynn (screenplay), Gillian Flynn (novel)
Actors: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry
Release Year: 2014
Scott Hardie | October 8, 2014
I feel like one of the few people who doesn't know any spoilers for this book/movie, and I'm going to keep it that way until I can get out to a theater and see this. (Kelly won't go -- "why would I want to see a movie about you killing me?" ouch -- so that makes it harder.) I'll read your comments and reply in full after I've seen this. :-)
Evie Totty | October 8, 2014
Tell her to read the book ;)
And yeah, I've been careful to not do spoilers til I got here when it was clearly marked 'spoilers' haha
Scott Hardie | April 16, 2016
Now that I've seen it, I agree with pretty much everything. I haven't read the book, but I've read a lot about the book, and the movie seems determined to keep much of its subtext intact even as it jettisons lots of minor characters and subplots.
I had one of the movie's twists spoiled for me by a certain advice columnist, but the movie had enough other twists that I stayed interested.
Had I seen this in 2014, I would have voted for it around the middle of my ballot, which probably would have elevated it to the top of our best movies of 2014 list. Like you, Evie, I didn't love it per se, but I liked it well enough and respected its complexity.
That ending, though. Damn. I can accept it being such a downer (you could tell this wasn't going to have a happy ending), but I don't think I can bring myself believe it. The Amy portrayed in the film is a cold-blooded murderer and liar, so I cannot believe that Nick would stay married to her voluntarily, given that:
1) She only loves him as long as he serves her interest in having a happy domestic life. He is disposable to her. Granted, she was disposable to him, but his idea of closure is divorcing her for a younger woman. Her idea of closure is murder.
2) She can very easily get away with murdering him. She has already established a "history" of abuse. She can shoot him dead, then throw herself down some stairs to create bruising, and go crying to the police (and more importantly the media) that she killed him in self-defense.
3) She doesn't apparently want the child within her. She only conceived it to compel Nick to stay. This means she could terminate the pregnancy and/or poison the child at whim later. (That's very dark, yes, but Amy is proven capable of that kind of darkness.)
One detail that I missed until reading about the film this morning, that makes the ending easier to swallow, is that Amy sincerely thought NIck wanted her back when she saw him pleading for her return on television. When she watched that TV interview with wide-eyed interest, I mininterpreted it as her being astounded that Nick had outmaneuvered her; she assumed he was too dumb for that. Even later, when she said in the bloody shower scene that she wants back the Nick that pleaded for her on TV, I thought she meant that she wanted him to continue to play that role of loving husband for the cameras/police. Now i see that everyone else interprets it as Amy believing Nick actually wants her back, which makes her seem kind of gullible I guess. Someone that smart and calculating and evil should not fall for so simple of a trick; you can't bullshit a bullshitter.
A similarly unlikely mistake on Amy's part: Not getting the hell out of town as soon as the redneck couple discovers her money stash. I understand the need to clean her fingerprints before leaving, but why wait until the next day? They were obviously going to rob her as soon as they saw the cash. Frankly, I'm surprised that they waited until the next day, instead of robbing her right there at the mini-golf course.
Having spent a lot of time around writers, I can vouch for two elements of the characterization that maybe didn't seem genuine. One, they really can be verbally dextrous, especially when they're trying to impress someone, as Nick and Amy do while flirting in the flashbacks. Two, they really can invent various personas and try them on for size, as both characters do throughout the film. I knew a woman in a creative writing workshop who claimed that her hobby was collecting roadkill, boiling the heads to remove the flesh, bleaching the skulls, and keeping the skulls on a shelf to decorate her home. Everyone else in the class was aghast at the horror of this story, but I recognized immediately that she was just making it up as practice. Flexing their fiction-crafting muscles is something that writers do sometimes.
Now that Gillian Flynn is talking about writing a sequel (which the studio would no doubt commit to filming based on this film's massive box-office haul), I confess to being curious what twists and turns this crazy marriage would take next, but I can't imagine a second film topping this one.
Evie Totty | April 16, 2016
In the book it was way more believable that Nick would stay at the end. And the ending was different though at this late date that means it's been 3+ years since I've read the book so many more have been read in between (including the comparable Girl on a Train) so I cannot remember what exactly had changed. Seems like she had something else on him and he simply had no choice but to stay.
The perceived gullibility of Amy about whether or not Nick really wanted her back: she already lived in her own world. And what she ultimately wanted was Nick. And being a fellow woman who looked at things through rose-colored glasses in a previous relationship I could totally believe that she had come to that conclusion. Call it projection *shrug*.
Scott Hardie | April 16, 2016
Fair enough. I can accept that turn of the story. I do wish I had recognized it at the time instead of misinterpreting it.
Want to join the discussion? Log in or create an account to reply.
Evie Totty | October 8, 2014
I read the book long ago when it was on the Best Seller list. I'm not even sure what made me pick it up. I do know that as I was reading it I was thinking "What's the big deal" but pressed on.
Then it happened. And I couldn't stop (one reason why I swore off fiction in college). Was very excited to find out David Fincher was doing the film and thought Ben was perfect for Nick Dunne. Wasn't too thrilled for Rosamund Pike, but hey - I'm not the director right?
Fast forward to the movie. I will have to say it was enjoyable. I did find myself wanting to check the time ... so because of that I have to say it wasn't as good as it could or should have been. I loved it, but I think that was mostly because I've read the book and was able to embellish it in my head.
For example in the book I began to wonder if Nick DID kill Amy. I wonder if people thought the same during the movie? The whole affair seemed like it was tossed in as a way to make you dislike Nick instead of it being a result (justified or not) of his failing marriage.
When they showed that Amy was alive - it wasn't the OMG moment I had hoped it would be. It's been a while since I read the book but as far as I know that's how Flynn told us. But I didn't hear a single gasp from the audience in the film so I feel I am right. Fincher should have done it a different way.
NPH's character of Desi was way under-written.
I will say it is an interesting and extreme portrayal of how to NOT get a mate. And to be careful while you are looking. Sure, we all act a little different when we first meet someone. Play a role. But the extent to which you play that role determines the success of your relationship because your true colors will eventually come out.
And in this case - damn. This is some scary shit.
Bottom line: it's a Fincher film. Well done and I believe anyone who saw it will like it. (I'll add that one lady I saw it with deemed it a rental lol)
And this is where the ratings system betrays me. It was better than 'Ok' and less than 'It Ruled'. It was 'Good'.