GONE GIRL (2014): A Bitter Pill for Marriage

Gone Girl

I am a 22-year-old male, single. You know what is in most of my chats with friends? Marriage. Wedding. Proposal, at least. Engagement. All those things. Here comes the ages all my friends are so concerned about those things more than anything else. But how lovely is it really to get married? “Gone Girl” gives you a new perspective on marriage, about how it actually is a crossing of not only the good but also the bad of two people, and how it may turn into a nightmare when you can’t end it even though you know it doesn’t work anymore. “Gone Girl” scars the viewers with a pill about marriage, so bitter it haunts.

“Gone Girl” is the newest picture of David Fincher, adapted from a similarly titled novel by Gillian Flynn, who was appointed to be the screenwriter as well. You know it very well that I already read the book like six months before I finally watched it some days ago, and you also know it very well that this is a distinctive book because of the way it’s written: it’s written by using two viewpoints, the husband Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and the wife Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), in alternating chapters. Even every viewpoint goes into its own timeline.

Gone Girl

(Wait a sec. Should I write a synopsis about “Gone Girl”? Well, Nick Dunne finds that Amy, his wife, disappeared from their house in Missouri on their fifth wedding anniversary. It’s indicated that Amy is not gone—she’s murdered. And Nick, because of his strange behaviors, is suspected as the murderer. What a simple story.)

I’m gonna talk about the movie as a viewer who already read the book. Since this is a story with lots of secrets and twists in it, it’s apparent to presume that one may not enjoy the movie that much if he already knew the whole story. One thing for sure, the story will not be the only thing to sell with the highest price. What about the two viewpoints style? If kept, it might give the movie a distinction, yet moving back-and-forth between two viewpoints would be so dull, I think. However, now that they did keep this style for the movie, undoubtedly there will be lots of cuts and fade-outs, and those who haven’t been familiar with the nature of the story will find it a bit tiring. And there you go: suddenly “Gone Girl” becomes a movie that is (too) faithful to the novel, not only by story but also by the way the story was told.

Still, I assure you that you are not watching just-another-thriller-about-missing-person. Thanks to Fincher with his vision, who enables us to see the story as more than just the only interesting point of the film. In my words, he never simply adapts a story; he translates it. He gives meaning to it, he blows soul into it. Even though I already knew the story, I can’t imagine how it suddenly becomes so... haunting—more than what I feel when I actually read the novel. The story of the novel is sick, but when it comes to be a film, it becomes terribly sick. It stabs you on your heart and brain. It is violent. It is... indoctrinating. It gives viewers bad ideas about what will happen when two most fucked-up people in the world enter a holy bond of marriage. It keeps you questioning if you really know who your spouse is. Is he really a good guy? Is she really a nice girl?

Gone Girl

Yet, Fincher coming with his regulars like Jeff Cronenweth (DoP), Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (music), Kirk Baxter (editor), and all obviously gives nothing particularly new to the film. Although he totally nailed in translating the novel to screen, it feels like... in Fincher’s filmography, this is just a lesser movie. I come to a culmination point where I demand something... fresher. Everything, well, might be his trademark, like the lighting, the visual, and all, but the music department? I ended up concluding that Reznor and Ross are not making music; they’re making noise (it hurt, but there, I said it). It’s just like a sound of some mechanical appliances. Well it’s creepy, it blends to the tone of the story, but sometimes it feels detached from my ears. If I granted with one wish for this Christmas, I reaaally wanted to have another composer for Fincher in his next project, whatever it is.

The cast helps this downside. While Affleck is now mostly working behind the screen, he successfully portray a husband with insecurities, with a face no one knows is innocent or full of secret. Rosamund Pike delivers an Oscar-worthy performance, a performance of a lifetime, something that no one can expect from—like they said—“a relatively unknown actress”. A truly exhilarating breakthrough performance, an incredibly challenging transformation. My kudos are also given to all actors in “Gone Girl”. How come it doesn’t appear in any Best Ensemble Cast nominees in any awards? Look at Carrie Coon, or Kim Dickens, or Patrick Fugit, or even Tyler Perry, or Neil Patrick Harris with his limited screen time, or even Emily Ratajkowski (and her boobs)! Seriously, they are totally one of the best ensemble cast of the year.

Gone Girl

I think no one knows how to treat a mystery movie better than David Fincher. Boy is he the best of this genre. He manages to let everything down until the very time it should explode (remember how readers said that the book is awfully draggy in its first half, but so incredibly face-slapping in its second half). He acknowledges the bits of the story so well that he knows when to talk much and when to keep quiet. This is not only a film about somebody went missing. “Gone Girl” scars. “Gone Girl” is so good. “Gone Girl” is in my to-rewatch list. Yet, please, puhleaaaase, Mr. Fincher, have some fun. Have a refreshment.  Work with new kinds of music.

Gone Girl

4 out of 5 stars

2014 / Drama, Mystery, Thriller / 149 min / R

cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Carrie Coon,
Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Kim Dickens,
Patrick Fugit, Emily Ratajkowski, et al.

based on the novel "Gone Girl"
by Gillian Flynn, screenplay by Gillian Flynn

directed by David Fincher

Akbar Saputra

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  1. Emily Ratajkowski, Bar! Note that! I never thought she'd make a good Andie, but surprisingly, she did it!
    Anyway, Gillian Flyyn said, in an interview, that there would be a completely different third act, but turns out, there's the third act from the book (stripping off some details); that's quite disappointing, but, I won't bother Lol

    1. Umm about the third act I think she did make a little bit difference, which makes the film a bit more conclusive than the book. And that's a good thing because it makes the story more haunting, more chilling.