GONE GIRL Special Edition: Analyzing The Trailer and Important Parts of The Book

GONE GIRL Special Edition: Analyzing The Trailer and Important Parts of The Book

This post contains spoilers. Read this post only if you have read the book “Gone Girl” entirely.

First of all, I’d like to say, “Happy Ramadhan, everyone!”. Happy fasting month for all muslim around the world.

Now, back to business. We’ve been in the middle of discussion about GONE GIRL, which we all anticipate so much this year. This post is a great treat for you who have read the novel, because we’re gonna talk about important parts of the book, if they should be changed or kept.

Not only the book, I think we should also see the movie trailer as a key comparison. You must have read my first post about how GONE GIRL is, in my opinion, going to be like THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO only by the plot itself, although I hoped that GONE GIRL could do something better. I mean, isn’t it boring just to be linear? The book is so spectacularly told in two perspectives and why isn’t the film the same? It’s a challenge for David Fincher.

What Fincher Wants from the Trailer

I doubt that you haven’t seen the movie trailer. But if you really haven’t, now please watch it in the video box below

The trailer is amazing. This is how movie trailer is supposed to be: it gives clues about what exactly GONE GIRL is all about (for people who don’t know even the least about it); it keeps the mystery that raises curiosity (for people who know a bit about it and are attracted to see it); it shows the beauty of a book-to-movie adaptation by using atmospheric song (for people who already know what it’s all about).

But since most of the ‘audience candidates’ never really read “Gone Girl” (I mean, the book), Fincher attractively prepares the trailer to make impression that they already know the story, although they haven’t read the book. So when they finally see the movie, they’ll get surprised because the story is totally different from what they have expected.

I told you in my first post: Fincher wants to show that Amy Dunne is dead. Not only by the trailer: the special cover of Entertainment Weekly magazine shows that he wanted to give impression Amy Dunne is dead, Amy Dunne was drowned. He wanted to show that Nick Dunne is the one to blame for her death (with that awesome closing statement “I did not kill my wife, I am not a murderer” which, as long as I remembered, is not written in the book).

Gone Girl Entertainment Weekly Cover

He wants to show that it’s not simply a story about a gone girl: it’s actually a story of a wife murdered by her husband.

So, meanwhile the book-readers know that Amy is not dead at the end of the story, the rest of the audiences would get surprised because they expect Amy is dead; or even after they know that Nick, who’s become the target of all blame, is not the only antagonist: Amy is actually the key antagonist.

And that’s how a filmmaker markets his film only by the trailer and magazine cover.

What’s Added, What’s Not in It, What’s Still in It

This is interesting. I’ll try to break it down into parts that related to the book, second by second:

00:07 – 00:14 “As you’ll know, my wife, Amy Elliott Dunne, disappeared three days ago.”Didn’t quite remember if this was in the book, so I think this is an added part to the story. It wants to give an impression how the neighborhood is involved in searching the missing Amy Dunne.

00:16 – 00:18 1-855-4-AMY-TIPS or findamazingamy.com isn’t part of the book. I’m sure of it. So, again, this is an added part, to give an impression about how the media is involved in the case
00:18 – 00:21 This is either the scene of when Amy and Nick first met, or the scene when they play the ‘clue game’ in their wedding anniversary.

00:21 – 00:23, 00:25 – 00:29 Obvious: it’s when Nick first encounters that Amy is missing.

00:29 – 00:33 I’m not sure if there is this (important) bathing scene, in which Amy delivers his ignorant (or dumped?) look to his husband. I guess this shows their third or fourth year of wedding, when their communication gets weary. An added part.

00:33 – 00:36 Again, chances are this one is an improvisation to the story. It again shows how the neighbors and the people in town are involved and concerned about missing Amy. I think Fincher shows this in the trailer to give a quick look about the cinematography (notice the flashlight from the people gives the ‘spotlight’ effect when the shine hits the grass).

00:36 – 00:39 The Blue Book Boy in the Mall. Part of the book.

00:45 – 00:48 “You can’t go on like this” | “Well, it’s not good enough for you?” | “It’s not even close!”. My prediction: this is the argue they had the night before Amy went missing.

00:48 – 00:51 The grin! Nick’s famous grin!

00:54 – 00:56 This one is interesting: did I miss something from the book or did the book tell something about a blood trace on (what is it) Nick’s garage door? Was it only to give more impression that leads people to believe this is a murder?

00:56 – 01:02 The camera crews parking around Nick’s house, The Bar gets more crowded as Nick the owner becomes the suspect, The Ellen Abbott show. Yep, Fincher paid good attention to the media frenzy.

01:02 – 01:03 Nick goes to New York to meet Tanner Bolt?

01:03 – 01:05 His interview with Sharon Scheiber. Still about the media frenzy.

01:07 The photo, in my opinion, is an (negative?) image of blood pool Amy intentionally made on the kitchen.

01:09 – 01:10 A pair of panties found in Nick’s ex-classroom.

01:10 – 01:12 Is it Nick’s dad’s house?

01:15 – 01:17, 01:20 – 01:21 Nick finds out his woodshed and the things Amy left for him in it. Notice his expression.

01:18 – 01:20 I think this is the ‘dancing monkey’ scene?

01:25 – 01:28 Strongly shows how Nick becomes the suspect, although I recalled that this is only a scene after Nick giving statement to the neighborhood to join him and the family to search Amy. Or is it?

01:28 – 01:31 Amy’s drowned? I think this is just an imagination.

There are added parts, there are maintained parts. Missing parts from the book? It’s not missing; it’s hidden. See that the entire trailer shows Amy with her long hair, no Neil Patrick Harris a.k.a Desi Collings; it only shows only the first half of the book. The second part is totally hidden.

Gone Girl

Important Parts

I agree with this interesting article by Vanity Fair about GONE GIRL essential parts of the plot. While Gillian Flynn announced earlier that she did some changes for the ending, I do hope that she enhanced her story especially for these parts:
  1. Desi Collings, more Desi Collings. No Betsy Bolt, no Rebecca, no Hilary Handy. So I hope Desi Collings gets more significant screen time, more functions to the story itself. Because his presence (in the ending, mostly) is so limited. He needs more attention with his quirky personality and all.
  2. The ending. It’s too drifting. The ending of the book is a hate-it-or-love-it kind of closing. But, for a movie, this is simply not a preferred ending, especially after being given by the trailer an impression that in the end Amy is dead.Flynn should do something with it: perhaps by not letting Nick and Amy be together until months after she went back?
  3. Let the homecoming scene be more glorious, more dramatic, but more disgraceful. Because I feel like, hell, with all the complex plans that Amy prepared (like a fake diary book that takes days or even months to write), why she comes back to Nick just like... that? Well, okay if her plans just went wrong; she got robbed, she got kidnapped by Desi, and all, but why coming back? I think the answers to all these questions have something to do with Amy’s personality: she wants to get attention, she wants to get power, she wants control. Coming back is her final plan, so let it be more breathtaking and ‘sick’.
In the other hand, I want the film to keep these parts from the book:
  1. The motel scene. We know that Greta and Jeff are already in the cast-character list (played by Lola Kirke and Boyd Holbrook), so we cannot ignore the motel scene. But, different from the aforementioned Vanity Fair article, I do hope that the focus to this scene is kept. This is important to show what a smarty-ass Amy is, how she plans each and every step that actually happens. And it’s important too to show how she actually feels doubtful, anxious, or even guilty about what she has done. This is important to delve into Amy’s personality, especially if the dual-perspective writing style is completely neglected.
  2. Personality approach. Why spent half of the book to let the readers trust Amy’s fake diary if finally none of it makes it through the film? The point of the first half is to give introduction about who Amy is, who Nick is. So it’s just so shameful if the the first half of the book (I mean, Amy’s chapters in the first half) is just ignored like that. We want reason of why each of them cheat or trick each other.
  3. The media frenzy. I already broke the trailer down into details for you and it’s apparent how the trailer wants to show the atmosphere of media involved in such a crime. How people suddenly be the judge of who is right or who is wrong, who is the victim and who is the culprit. That’s a good point, that’s a unique point of the book, and that is worth keeping.
Rosamund Pike / Amy Dunne

Phew, what a post. I’ve been going too long, because the thing is I just can’t stop talking about this movie. October, please come faster!

Again, let’s join me discussing the plot of GONE GIRL: what it’ll be like, how different it will be compared to the book. Next post covers my opinion about award reception towards GONE GIRL. Will it be an award darling?

Akbar Saputra

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  1. Excellent post! I just read this book a couple of months ago and I'm curious to see what the film does with it, especially concerning the ending.

    1. We'll see how the second trailer is coming! :)

  2. “As you’ll know, my wife, Amy Elliott Dunne, disappeared three days ago.” and bathing scene are actually in the book. Love the The 'Amazing Amy' shot.

  3. my best bet, the bathing scene takes place in Desi Coling's house, maybe, but the trailer is so manipulative putting Nick's appearance after that....

    Amy's diary is really a homework for the movie,..

    by the way, how many times you watch the trailer ? :p

    1. Interesting point! But Amy's hair is still long, right? Shouldn't it be short?

      I don't know, tens of times maybe

  4. Great post! I just finished the book and can't wait for the movie