Director David Fincher and writer Gillian Flynn are a stellar team to bring thrillers to the big screen. Nick Dunne, Ben Affleck, is the prime suspect in the disappearance of his wife Amy, Rosamund Pike. The viewer knows that Nick is being framed, the struggles come from probing his innocence from a perfect trail of evidence left by his wife to frame him.
The plot is full of twists, but they are well-paced and keep your attention in the film. Neither Nick nor Amy are ‘good people’ and you have to decide who to root for while the film makes you re-evaluate that assessment repeatedly. Each gains your sympathy at times and revulsion at others.
Detective Rhonda Boney, Kim Dickens, is along for the ride with an appreciable open-mindedness about Nick’s culpability. For some reason, Fincher decided to make Detective Boney constantly hold a coffee cup. I thought it was going to lead to a reveal of an addiction problem, but it never gets explained. The cup was present anytime we saw Boney so I am not sure the point of having it. It could be a nod to Fincher’s inclusion of a Starbucks cup in every scene of Fight Club. Nick starts the movie at the bar he owns with his sister drinking at 10 am. I thought this was to establish a pattern of alcoholism, but that never really pays off either. He drinks heavily, but his wife just disappeared and then he is the chief suspect. He never spirals and his use of alcohol never interferes with anything.
Amy is a bad actress in this movie, but that shows just how good Rosamund Pike is. Amy’s baseline performance is a breathy and sultry voice. Both she and Nick are pretending to make this marriage work. When Amy deviates to play other ‘characters’ in the film, the acting is horrible to show the blindness of other people. It also shows Amy’s ability to underestimate people.
Some of the flaws in the movie helped it; the coffee cup still bugs me though. I did not like the somewhat ambiguous ending, it made me a little angry. That is one measure of a great movie. Having a visceral reaction because of a performance can be the mark of great film making. The pacing in thrillers can be hard to get right, but it is spectacular in Gone Girl. This is a great thriller ready to take you along for the ride.