Movie Review | Gone Girl
Movie summary: 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. (IMDb)
Gone Girl is a bit of a weird movie for me to review, because it's one of those cases where I can appreciate a lot of the pieces, but some pretty serious flaws are also present and the good wasn't quite good enough to really save it. Don't get wrong, I enjoyed it for the most part, but I don't think I'll be in any rush to watch it again and doubt it will last long in my memory either.
Let's start with the biggest positive: the acting. Ben Affleck as Nick, Carrie Coon as Margo and Rosamund Pike as Amy are the three central characters and are all brilliant in their roles, even if Margo is the only likeable one of the three. And not to ignore Affleck, but Pike is the undoubted star of this movie and deservedly nominated for the Best Actress Oscar.
Affleck is great in his role as Nick, who wants to be seen as a good guy and tries to do enough to make people believe it, but is also fairly aware that he's actually a bit of a dick. Normally, this kind of self-awareness would be a great thing for a character to possess, but being aware of his faults means he's more inclined to cover them up than someone oblivious to these issues.
Even that isn't his biggest problem, which is that he isn't quite as clever or crafty as he thinks he is, and every time he believes he's about to to turn things in his favour, something stops him in his tracks and he has to start over. This arrogance that he can control things carries over into keeping secrets from those trying to help him, which inevitably backfires whenever he does so.
As for Coon, she's not the only character in Gone Girl that you can genuinely believe as a good person, but she's definitely the nicest of the central characters and you feel for her when Nick screws something up yet again and she gets dragged into his problems. She clearly loves her brother and wants to help, but always suffers as a result.
Then there's Rosamund Pike as Amy, who provides the best performance in the movie and yet is practically impossible to talk about without spoiling Gone Girl's biggest plot point. Let's just say that her character isn't what she appears to be at just about any point when she's on-screen and Pike's performance as someone like Amy is as perfect as you could hope for with this kind of role.
Like Wasikowska and Crimson Peak, it's surprising Pike didn't go on to be a much bigger name after this movie and her terrific performance. It can't be her looks as she's in quite frankly incredible shape here, nor can it be about her acting talent which is definitely award worthy - including what sounds like a pretty convincing and consistent American accent. Maybe she's been offered roles and turned them down to avoid the spotlight?
The major supporting cast members, such as Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris and Kim Dickens are all pretty good too - and for entirely different reasons with each - and even smaller parts for Missi Pyle and Emily Ratajkowski are well done too. In terms of performances, Gone Girl is pretty great - which is why the screenplay is such a disappointment.
Honestly, there are so many boneheaded decisions/choices made by so many of these characters that it did become genuinely frustrating to watch. Some of them do feel deliberate and in-character, but so many came across as forced and artificial, just happening to make sure the story keeps going and doesn't end too soon.
Kim Dickens especially suffers as Detective Rhonda Boney, with the police coming off as incompetent and even plain stupid at times. It doesn't help that Boney starts off doubtful about what the initial evidence suggests happened to Amy, but changes tack when a stupidly suspicious mountain of evidence is revealed to her - a mountain that only exists thanks to the idiocy of Nick and Margo too.
That's my biggest problem with Gone Girl: it goes on so long (2.5 hours) and only because the characters keep making dumb decisions both in-character and not. It's a David Fincher movie, so it looks as amazing as you'd expect, the acting is top notch and even if the majority of characters are hard to like, they still feel like real people - apart from when the script requires them to act like morons.
Gone Girl is a good movie that I enjoyed watching again, but some annoying character decisions and poor pacing meant there was a disconnect between me and what I was watching. The acting is great, especially from Rosamund Pike, Ben Affleck and Carrie Coon, but it's not quite enough to justify a long running time that doesn't feel earned.