Wednesday, October 08, 2014
On his fifth wedding anniversary Nick (Ben Affleck) comes home and finds that his famous children’s book author wife, Amy, is missing. Given Amy’s tremendous popularity, the media have a field day with this and quickly indict Nick via Nancy Grace-type television coverage. Every move Nick makes is scrutinized and interpreted as evidence of his guilt. Flashbacks reveal how Nick’s once picture perfect marriage disintegrated following a series of setbacks including both losing their jobs and being forced to move from New York City to boring Missouri to care for Nick’s ailing mother. Throughout this period of their marriage Nick becomes emotionally detached from Amy and has an affair with one of his students. As more clues are uncovered, including Amy’s diary, Nick finds his days as a free man numbered.
Ostensibly ‘Gone Girl’ is a murder mystery. The plot is familiar enough (i.e. people who appear happy on the surface have secrets) and the social commentary about the quick-to-judgment social media has been done before. Despite the familiar material, the cast, direction, and cinematography are top-notch. I must confess that I have not read the book and I knew nothing about the story going into the theater. Why only 3 stars? Gone Girl shifts its tone throughout the story. There are no likable characters, no one to root for and there are huge sea changes in the story’s direction. More than once I thought, “Wait, what?” By the third act I was mentally exhausted and I didn’t like the ending. I am certain that this film will polarize people and I encourage everyone to check it out.