‘Gone Girl’ – **spoiler-free** Review


By James Hancock

I just got out of a screening of David Fincher’s highly anticipated new film “Gone Girl” at the New York Film Festival and I’ve used my frenzied bike ride from Columbus Circle down to the Village to give my brain a chance to digest the experience. There is a lot to take in and a lot to talk about, but I don’t want to say a word that might diminish the experience for anyone planning on seeing it. I will say that this movie is absolutely going to delight David Fincher fans as well as mainstream audiences but it is difficult to discuss without ruining everything about the film that makes it such a great viewing experience. I’m a sucker for movie history, movie trivia, etc. and ordinarily I consume any and all information about movies that I am looking forward to prior to their release, spoilers included. For me the story of the making of a film can be just as compelling if not more so than the film itself but when I first saw the trailer for “Gone Girl” I immediately wrote off the movie as a routine, predictable mystery. I was so wrong it is embarrassing but as anyone who knows me can tell you I have a bad habit of often being wrong but never in doubt. I was not remotely looking forward to seeing this movie when it is released on October 3rd, but earlier today I saw a tweet that there were a few tickets remaining for “Gone Girl” at the New York Film Festival. After having tried and failed to get tickets for “Birdman”, “Inherent Vice”, “Foxcatcher” and “Maps to the Stars” I was prepared to ignore the festival altogether but when a ticket for “Gone Girl” basically dropped into my lap I figured what the hell and went to have a look.

If you’ve seen the trailer, the movie opens with some familiar scenes to set up the story but after the first 45 minutes or so the movie becomes so bananas and wildly unpredictable that I feel that the trailer is almost criminally negligent in selling this movie. I have not read the book by Gillian Flynn upon which the movie is based but I’m grateful that I went into this movie a blank slate. If you stumble upon spoilers online or run into anyone who has seen the film, plug up your ears as if someone were trying to spoil the Red Wedding from Game of Thrones (which I never did in spite of reading the books and having the secret burning a hole in my brain leading up to the airing of that episode). In addition to being a riveting mystery and dark comedy, this film offers so much more including indictments on social media culture, talking heads on the news and even the institution of marriage itself. I’m a bachelor but I can only imagine the tense awkward conversations husbands and wives are going to have while driving home after seeing this movie. “Gone Girl” really digs into so much about American culture that is vile, offensive and obscene all while making us laugh at the absurdity of our own behavior. The only thing I’ll say that is even vaguely spoiler-ish is that it wouldn’t surprise me in years to come if men and women both were to start using the term “Gone Girl” for any male or female who has gone completely psycho in their relationship. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike are absolutely incredible in this movie with some amazing supporting performances by Tyler Perry and Neil Patrick Harris. In the hands of any director other than David Fincher I doubt that this film would have the same manic intensity, but when the story really finds its stride, I started feeling as if I were suffocating from panic and confusion all while grinning from ear to ear. This is smart, crowd-pleasing entertainment and I anticipate the movie will be a monster hit. The Fall movie season is officially underway and I hope that there will be more surprise delights in store for me as the season really gets going. Bring on “Birdman”, “Interstellar”, “Inherent Vice”, “Maps to the Stars” and “Foxcatcher”.

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