I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Gone Girl

tn_gonegirlGONE GIRL is the new David Fincher popular fiction adaptation, another murder mystery but this time I guess you could say with a lighter touch than SEVEN, ZODIAC or THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck, PAYCHECK) comes home on his fifth anniversary to find his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike, DOOM) missing. They were unhappy and he’s not good at faking it, so suspicion quickly falls on him. Meanwhile Amy had a tradition of leaving a series of clues for an anniversary treasure hunt, initially romantic, these days bitter and mean. While Nick and lead investigator Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens, HOLLOW MAN) follow the trail of cute riddles, we start to see Amy’s diary entries telling the story of their relationship from her perspective. And this may shock you but it eventually turns out that there’s more to the story!

This is one that you really need to see without knowing any more than that, so I’m not even gonna attempt a spoiler-wary review. From this point on don’t read unless you’ve already seen it or are mortally wounded and aren’t gonna make it another 2 hours and 25. In which case thank you, I am honored and flattered that you chose to live out your last moments here on outlawvern.com. You know I hope this isn’t too forward of me but if you don’t have any heirs and it’s not too much to ask maybe consider making a bunch of expensive purchases through my Amazon links before you kick. I really appreciate it man, thanks alot bud and good luck to you.

GONE GIRL is kinda like a couple different types of movies chopped up and put together. For a while it alternates between a grim murder mystery like you would expect from Fincher and a kinda smug romantic chick flick like you would expect not ever from Fincher. Pike has a pretty great performance that starts out as 3 parts charming, 1 part BLUE JASMINE obnoxious, morphs into cynical rebel and then full-on nut. She does a couple different accents and literally throws herself into the role physically.

In alot of movies there are these characters who are self-consciously witty, wealthy and successful, but self doubting. We’re supposed to love them and relate to them, but there’s a good chance we hate them. That’s the kind of character Amy is, but it turns out we didn’t know what we were talking about at all. She was way worse than we imagined!

mp_gonegirlFrom the perspective of Amy’s diary everyone talks like it’s fucking Gilmore Girls, spitting rapid-fire barrages of cutesy wittiness in each other’s faces instead of having conversations. But she’s one of these unreliable narrators. I don’t know if it represents how she really sees things or just how she wants to paint them, but her version seems to owe a debt to various women-aimed mainstream entertainment: romantic comedies, Sex and the City, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Lifetime Television For Women movies about abusive husbands.

She’s like a romantic comedy girl gone bad, Amelie using her quirky talents for evil. What starts as cute, romantic treasure hunts evolves into a revenge scheme worthy of The Riddler or Jigsaw. Or, shit, the Zodiac Killer. What are her clues but Zodiac letters on cuter stationery? Leading us around, trying to make us feel bad, feeling superior to us, flirting with getting caught.

She goes over the deep end but in a way she still gets her man back, just like in every romantic comedy. He goes on TV and tries to threaten her and she interprets it as the part at the climax when Heath Ledger or Owen/Luke Wilson or whoever makes a big speech in a dramatic public display, bares his soul and apologizes and she realizes it’s true love after all. To Amy it’s a happily ever after ending. I’m pretty sure Nick disagrees.

Nick is definitely a dumbass though. He is the one who ruined their marriage, first by moving them to Missouri (allegedly without giving her a say in it), then by cheating on her (with a dumb college girl who says she can’t live another second without him, no less). But it’s a pretty unbalanced he-said/she-said because when you see what she’s up to how can you not think “Wow, he was right, she is a crazy bitch”? In comparison he’s very reasonable.

Not that she’s entirely unsympathetic. I agree with the celebrity defense attorney (a really good performance by Tyler Perry, though not as funny as he was in ALEX CROSS) when he says something like “You have to have a begrudging respect for her at this point.” He seems to get a kick out of how messed up these two idiots are that he’s getting all this money from, and the audience has to be kind of the same way. I certainly rooted for Amy when the dirtbags (Lola Kirke [sister of Jemima Kirke from Girls] and Boyd Holbrook [the recovering junkie kid in A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES]) robbed her at the hotel, not wanting her to be stranded out in the middle of nowhere with no money, because then how are we gonna find out how far she is willing to take this nutty revenge scheme?

She’s fun to watch sometimes. And then she’s framing Neil P. Harris (STARSHIP TROOPERS 1) for sodomizing her with a wine bottle and the joke gets kinda old. Come on Amy maybe cool it there a little. You can’t really take her as anything but a horrible, horrible person.

Then again I kinda sided with Eva Green in 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE, and she was cutting guys’ heads off and stepping over the bodies, so how can I judge her?

The satire of Nancy Grace and similar cable news murder case ghouls is kinda obvious, but clearly deserved. As we watch the movie it plays with us by taking advantage of our prejudices, of who or what we’re likely to believe, and the media here does the same thing. They know even less of the facts than we do, but they still run with it to tell a good story. At the end, when Amy comes home and creates a new thrilling conclusion to the saga Detective Boney keeps pointing out huge holes in her story. Nobody cares. It’s a good ending.

I think this is a good movie, because I really enjoyed watching it, it stays fun and unpredictable for almost two and a half hours. But I’m not totally sure at this point what I think about it. I feel 110% sure that if it was written by a man we’d all be pretty offended by the manipulative wife who goes to absurd supervillain extremes to not only fake her murder, but to frame two people for raping her. The husband’s sins are hardly equivalent. He’s a normal human type of asshole, just another scumbag cheater, not a psychotic mastermind.

So I’m a little torn about it. I can’t quite shake the feeling that this sinister rape-faker story could be the paranoid fantasy of some numbnuts men’s rights advocate. It just so happens that it’s not, it’s an imaginative thriller from former Entertainment Weekly writer Gillian Flynn, adapted from her own novel. And it wouldn’t be fair to limit what she can write about just because she’s a woman. It’s not her responsibility to portray all women in a positive light, and if it was we could point to Detective Boney and Nick’s twin sister Margo (Carrie Coon), two complex, intelligent supporting characters who come off as better humans than the lead couple. Not to mention that a very flawed, complicated woman character is more interesting than a bland perfect one.

I guess maybe the way to take it is as an illustration of how ridiculous some of these victim-blaming theories are, because it’s pretty far-fetched what lengths she goes to to fake her attacks. She even looks silly doing it, rolling around on the ground splattering her own blood, planting forensic evidence like Jackson Pollock paints a canvas.

I’ve read that Flynn says she wanted to use the mystery genre as an excuse to explore what she was really interested in, which was relationships. That’s the fun gimmick but at least in the movie version, in one viewing, I don’t really know what it has to say about them exactly. That they start out great and quickly turn to shit because you’re both dumb fucking crazy assholes so you’re gonna resent each other and fight and lie and screw each other over and sleep on your sister’s couch and one of you should actually for sure be in prison for life because jesus man and eventually Tyler Perry might show up? I don’t know. That hasn’t been exactly my experience.

I don’t know. I don’t detect any deep insights. But it’s an enjoyably weird mix, an expert execution of the mystery genre and a twisted parody of the romance genre. It’s creepy and thrilling and often funny. And Fincher brings the filmatism. He’s one of those directors, no matter how minor he goes his mastery of the cinematic language and his worship of meticulous visual detail is gonna make us rub our eyes trying to figure out if it’s high art or not. Not that it really matters either way. They’re always gonna be worth watching.

Notes:

– What’s up with Nick giving Margo the board game “Mastermind” at the very beginning? Was that really just a red herring to make us think one of them was masterminding something? Weird.

– Man, that hospital kinda sucks to let her go home still covered in the dried blood of the man she murdered. I guess they just really believed in the symbolism of her washing it off in front of her husband.

– There was at least one scene where Affleck looked way more ripped than in other scenes. You can probly pinpoint when he found out he was playing Batman.

– What do you think about him pushing her against the wall at the end, something he’d previously been falsely accused of? Is i t just to remind us that he’s not a good guy? Or (more troublingly) is it supposed to suggest that she pushed him into becoming violent?

– For a while I was pretty convinced the cat did it.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 at 12:47 pm and is filed under Mystery, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

38 Responses to “Gone Girl”

  1. After that head-slam in the last five minutes, I wondered how she was still able to stand up. Concussion, anyone?

    I don’t think Fincher cares whether or not we glean any meaning from his stories. He just wants to show us how fuckin great he is. Because he can. And he is. And I got no problem with that *at all*. If anything, the movie has a rather negative view of modern marriage, but that would come from the writer.

    Yeah this was a good mash-up of Verhoeven BASIC INSTINCT and a Douglas Sirk melodrama.

    I always look forward to a Fincher title sequence – DRAGON TATTOO is a great movie, but I’d watch that Immigrant Song title sequence on it’s own any time. GONE GIRL’S title sequence was a bit more polite, it played like one of those digital photo frame collages, a different picture for each name credit, and it lulled us in to that bullshit domestic bliss we see in those bullshit romantic comedies. Nicely understated, Mr F, before you unleash the psycho bitch from hell opening up jugulars mid-coitus(spoiler).

  2. Saw it today. It’s pretty great. The did a really nice job of keeping the big reveal out of the marketing, making it seem like just the one type of movie before as you say, turning into a couple of others. I was also surprised at the amount of humour there was, from the sister to the satire of the media and such, and even the “you fucking bitch” at one point near the end. I think everyone was pretty great in this, especially Pike, but I have to figure Affleck was deliberately cast because of his polarising public perception that probably helped to make him unlikable and suspicious.

    “– What’s up with Nick giving Margo the board game “Mastermind” at the very beginning? Was that really just a red herring to make us think one of them was masterminding something? Weird.”
    There were other board games too behind the bar, and they play The Game of Life at one point. Don’t bars in America have board games? At least the smaller ones? In the UK some do. I’ve played Jenga in a pub before.

  3. I hate to write this but this sentence is too chilling to ignore:

    “And it wouldn’t be fair to limit what she can write about just because she’s a woman.”

    The takeaway is that limits should be placed on writers. And that placing such limits would be fair. AND that such limits should be affected by gender.

    Sorry, can’t work past rant mode at the moment, will leave it at that.

  4. Good post-review notes. I’m in agreement with them. I think we were supposed to think she did push him into it and she wanted him to do it. She seems to like testing the limits, to see how far he can go with her.

    But that’s about as much as I think it says about relationships. You are right – there isn’t a lot here to dissect and talk about, really. The book paints a portrait from her point of view that seems at least somewhat sympathetic. The film contrarily wants us to side more with Nick. No matter what he does it doesn’t compare to her doing a Pollack using her own blood. Actually many of those scenes made me laugh. They just seemed so outrageous. There is enough compelling evidence there to really hate this woman throughout the story and feel compassion for Nick. But when I read the book I was a bit torn between both of them. She seemed to have real valid reasons for hating Nick. But the discrepancy between what he does and how she reacts doesn’t sit well with me after watching the movie.

    As for where this fits in Fincher’s ouvre…I think his filmatism is on point. But he has been on auto pilot for awhile. With Social Network he really took some brave chances. But here I didn’t feel him pushing himself. It just felt like he was coasting and enjoying it. Still a well done movie though.

  5. Great review, Vern. I always enjoy reading your stuff.

    Other notes (agreed with you about not showering the blood off until AFTER a police interrogation and she got home):

    – Did I miss something about the pregnancy? Medical reports confirmed (though they were faked) that she was six weeks along (which was a major plot point and damning evidence against Affleck’s character) and then it was never mentioned once she returned. And then of course she became pregnant again with the Batman.

    – Getting robbed in the motel was a nice touch, but surely the Pike character must have considered that those two ne’er-do-wells might surely recognize her once she returned with all that major press coverage. Surely THAT would have been a fly in the ointment of her plan.

    – Patrick-Harris’ character’s house was AWESOME. Seriously impressive. His murder was shocking and exceedingly brutal and bloody. Seriously impressive.

    – Rosamund Pike played a major role in the 2002 James Bond film “Die Another Day.” A beautiful actress, whose career achievements since are increasingly impressive.

    – Finally, the actress who played Affleck’s girlfriend is magnificent. When they got together… Oh. My.

    Thanks again, Vern.

  6. I had read the book shortly before seeing the movie, so I knew what twists were coming. Even knowing the story, I still really enjoyed the movie. There’s something about Fincher’s style that draws you into his world. The book was also accused of misogyny, if I’m not mistaken. As a take on the femme fatale, Amy’s character is problematic, and I do remember being uncomfortable about her tendency to fake rapes when I was reading the book. But, like Vern said, I the fact that there are other strong female characters does go a little way towards balancing out the misogyny quotient. I used to be on the fence when it came to Fincher, but I think over the years he has actually become a better director.

  7. I disagree that the film has little to say about relationships. I think it says a lot about the ways in which we present idealized versions of ourselves to others (Nick’s speech about how he tried to be good enough for her, itself a performance for her sake), and the way others can idealize us (“She’s a Cool Girl”). Also the way people will attempt to mold others into their desired image, either on purpose or unknowingly. Amy’s a really extreme example of that but Nick also does this, as the Cool Girl speech suggests. The Amazing Amy books could also be seen as an example of this.

    To me that relationship stuff goes along with a major theme, maybe the major theme, of the movie: perception vs. reality. People seem to write off the TV stuff as just satire on the media, but I would say it’s also making a deeper point about human nature and our tendency to invent realities to fit our perceptions. Boney’s partner, and his wife, assume Nick’s guilt based on their dislike of his character. It’s not just Missi Pyle’s very punchable TV anchor making these leaps. We all do this kind of thing, all the time. When Nick first meets Amy at that party he immediately makes up disparaging backstories for his potential competitors in the room based solely on their looks.

    The film also shows how we can, and do, manipulate these perceived realities for our own benefit as well. For instance, Tanner Bolt coaching Nick on how to show just the right amount of guilt and contrition. Also pretty much everything Amy does in the entire movie. All in all, I think it has more to say about human nature than a lot of people are giving it credit for. Or it could just be my perception.

  8. It’s a bit odd how the story does so little with the obvious influence the parents had on this whole situation. When Nick tells them “you must be really proud of her” at the end, it’s obvious that he’s blaming how they made her grow up with this more idealised funhouse mirror version of herself perpetuating her life, and his own father and mother obviously have some effect on him. We don’t see his mother actually, but at one point in the movie he does say something like “I’m sick of being picked on by women”, which perhaps suggests something strained there.

    Tom- Amy used the pregnant lady she’d befriended’s pee to pass a pregnancy test at the doctor, accounting for the medical records, while the “6 weeks along” thing was something she told that woman. I think when she returned the obvious cover story was her supposed treatment by Harris’ character made her lose the baby.

  9. Clubside – Of course I don’t think there should be limits put on writers, and I’m not sure how you’re getting any other implication from that sentence but I assure you, I am saying exactly that, that it would be unfair to limit her, and not trying to give some kind of secret between the lines message otherwise.

    Tom – I think some of the holes in her story don’t really matter, because as we see the detective points out all kinds of inconsistencies and everyone shushes her. At that point she’s kind of desperate and grasping at straws but good enough to pull it off.

    Jake – good points

  10. I hated the book so I’ll probably pass on the movie. I agree with you 100% that this work didn’t really have anything deep or special to say about relationships. The basic thesis appears to be we don’t really reveal our true selves to each other until we’re in the relationship, and when we finally do we often hurt each other. But that’s obvious and nothing to write home about.

    And for me the story deflated after the big reveal. After that, there was no more mystery to solve and it devolved into just chapter after chapter of “look how crazy this bitch is!” Didn’t find it interesting or entertaining.

  11. Two words are all I need to dissuade me from seeing this: Rosamund Pike. Just get Original Paul started on why she’s the Queen Of Inert Actresses; fucking brilliant rant the last time he went to town on that subject.

    Ben (He Who Should Not’ve Been Cast as [REDACTED]) Affleck’s presence doesn’t help matters either.

  12. Does it really HAVE to say anything deep about relationships? Maybe it’s more interested in telling the story of THAT SINGLE ONE, apparently pretty fucked up relationship.

  13. No, I don’t think it has to say anything deep about relationships. I’m just responding to the idea that this is “really about relationships” and being honest that to me it doesn’t have much to say about that. But Jake made a good argument for why it does.

  14. The Original... Paul

    October 8th, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Lord… I’ve read the reviews and kinda want to see this one… but Rosamund Pike in another dramatic role? You guys surely don’t need me bitching about her for the fourth or fifth time.

    Of course it’s possible she’s actually found the perfect dramatic role at last. I hope so. I’d kinda like to be proven wrong about her.

  15. The Original... Paul

    October 8th, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    The other reviews, I mean. I’ve avoided Vern’s review and the other comments because of spoilers.

  16. The Original... Paul

    October 8th, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Ok, read one comment, ’cause I noticed my name in it.

    Larry – thanks for the compliment (not sure if I’m happiest because it’s at one of my rants though!) Obviously I’m not a fan of Pike’s – and any venom that I’ve directed towards her is largely down to the fact that she keeps getting picked for roles that, honestly, I don’t think she’s in any way suitable for. Whereas the likes of, say, “In A World”‘s Michaela Watkins, who as far as I’m concerned showed about a hundred times the amount of talent in one dramatic role as Pike has shown in five, seems to be destined for a career of guest appearances in TV serials. The fact that basically her entire family are famous actors and / or opera singers makes me suspicious that it’s nepotism at work here, rather than talent. Given that her performance just about killed “Jack Reacher” for me, I kinda resent that.

    Having said that… I am totally open to having my mind changed about Pike if she can pull off the kind of star-making performance that some of the reviews are claiming she’s managed here. I hope she manages it. It doesn’t seem like she’s going anywhere; and if she has to stick around, I’d rather she stick around and give performances that I actually enjoy.

  17. I also think the film is about the way that relationships can sour. And, among other things, how money, or lack thereof, can exacerbate this. I imagine their argument about wasting money on video games is a familiar one for many couples. Also the way in which we often take each other for granted, as Nick does by moving to Missouri without consulting her, and Amy does by giving her trust fund money to her parents without consulting him. Until in the end you are just two people who hate each other living under the same roof for the sake of the children. I bet there are more than a few longtime married couples who find the idea of just vanishing on their spouse cathartic.

    As for Ben’s point that this stuff is obvious, of course it’s obvious, it’s a movie. Movies that are “about something” are always about something obvious. Maybe there are exceptions I can’t think of, but, as I pointed out earlier in this sentence, I can’t think of any. CITIZEN KANE is about how people are complex and you can never truly know someone. And about how wealth and power don’t necessarily lead to happiness. RASHOMON is about how we subjectively interpret reality for our own benefit. TRANSFORMERS is about two and a half hours long. These are not exactly earth-shattering revelations.

    I would argue that a movie’s depth comes not from how novel its ideas are (they aren’t going to be) or how comprehensively they are covered (not really possible in a feature film) but, at least in part, from whether it provokes you to think about its themes. And whether it provides some reflection of truth about life, something that lets you recognize yourself or others in it. For me GONE GIRL did this.

  18. I remember reading Paul’s anti-Pike rant, and I also remember kind of agreeing with him. I don’t dislike her, but I’ve never been too impressed by her work. But maybe she just hasn’t been provided the right roles, because I thought she was great in Gone Girl. She’s a terrible person, but I was almost tricked into rooting for her here and there. I loved how giddy she got at all the schadenfreude surrounding her husband. So don’t let Pike keep you away from this movie.

  19. Is it just me, or does anyone else find that actresses in R rated movies like this who keep their bra on in sex scenes are doing the movie a disservice? I don’t mean to be vulgar, or reduce the film to it’s base level (cause I loved it), but during a sex scene with R Pike and NP Harris she had her bra on the whole time, and it really took me out of the movie for a moment. It got me thinking she must have one of those no nudity/no nipple clauses like Julia Roberts or Bullock. Yeah, yeah, I know some women in real life have body image issues and they might leave their bra on, or their Elmo socks, but Pike’s character was a pretty sexy femme fatale who used sex to her advantage. Anyway, just annoyed me. No big deal. Carry on discussing more meaningful themes…..

  20. KaeptnKrautsalat

    October 9th, 2014 at 7:44 am

    Darren, I agree that the awkward-Hollywood-sex-with-their-underwear-on scene was a bit distracting and out of character. I don’t blame Pike for having a no nudity clause, this is more of an issue with the double standard for sex and violence in America.

  21. Paul:

    People are raving at about how Rosamund Pike effortlessly waltzes away with the entire film. Her performance is fucking staggering and I’d be shocked if you would be able to fault her for the same reasons you had before. Then again sometimes I wonder if you and I occupy the same phylum.

  22. Yeah I pretty much loved this film. One of my favorite aspects of it is that once its cards are all on the table and most films would just end, it goes on for another 15 minutes or so and let’s you see all the characters interact in this bizzaro world they’ve made for themselves. I loved the SPOILER shot of Pike in her undies covered in blood. I LOVED the final shot of her when she gives that utterly dangerous look at the camera/you.

  23. *SPOILER* “I think I liked this one” is a rare opinion for me to have, especially after trying to process a movie for a few days, but I’m still conflicted. It’s definitely entertaining, well shot and scored, and the acting is uniformly excellent (Who knew Tyler Perry had this in him?) but I too was left wondering “is that all there is?” Again, not saying every movie needs to make a grand statement/big metaphor, but I guess I’m at a loss for how the novel became such a pop culture phenomenon when it’s basically a trashy Basic Instinct/The Last Seduction-style femme fatale erotic thriller in sheep’s clothing.

    I think that’s part of the problem – Affleck’s character is incredibly relatable, even with all his flaws, but Amy never once behaves like a human being. Which is fine (it’s a movie after all), but I can’t entirely buy that it’s making a point about marriages/relationships when one half of the relationship is an evil mastermind (If Amy’s master plan involved getting thrown in jail on purpose halfway through like every other supervillain I wouldn’t have been surprised). Jake makes excellent points about what it’s trying to say above, but I feel he’s making it better than the filmmakers!

    Also, apparently Neil Patrick Harris was supposedly creepier and kind of a psycho in the book (I guess a skewering of the “nice guy” archetype that women love to hate?) But in the movie version he’s simply a victim, pure and simple (there’s nothing to suggest she didn’t make up lies about him stalking her in the past the way she did about Scoot McNairy). I wonder why the change since it makes Pike’s character even more cartoon-villainous? (His death scene, by the way, was so over-the-top with it’s music video editing and horror-movie imagery I seriously thought it was a dream sequence.)

    I guess what I’m trying to say is it’s frustrating that SHE (not the movie) suggests that Affleck won her back over with his TV interview and she literally killed for him, to save his life, which is “sweet” in a sick, twisted Bonnie-and-Clyde way. But since she’s such an engima (even with tons of exposition/voice over), we have no idea what she’s really thinking and if she really did it to save him or save her own skin? Or I guess that’s the point? We’re just as disoriented and confused as Affleck is, except he’s actually stuck with this walking question mark until death do them part! Man, what a fascinating, frustrating movie. The more I talk/think about it, the more I think I definitely like it.

  24. One disagreement, Neal: Neil Patrick Harris in the movie is supposed to be creepy. In his mind he’s the good guy who’s helping her out, but when he shows her all of the cameras and says “I’m not letting you get away again” I think this is to tell us that she’s there against her will. And then he starts trying to make her look the way she did when they were young, when he first became (for real, I think) obsessed with her.

    Of course, we never see any proof that she needs to kill him to get away from him.

  25. Vern – yeah my gf said that line about the cameras always recording could be hinted to mean he’s making sure she’s not leaving while he’s at work, but she admitted it could have been because she read the book where he’s more outright villainous. I can totally see that interpretation but my mind was preoccupied with “oh this is a plot point and she’s totally going to use the cameras against him”.

    I had a pretty different interpretation of the entire NPH sequence, actually – for some reason I read it as a weird spin on utopian wish fulfillment – NPH has literally anything she could (or “should”) ever want – designer threads, fancy sheets, expensive food, unlimited funds (and she certainly would never have to work again) – I mean they go into so much detail on the material stuff he has for a reason, right? But I think what seems like a pretty sweet gig is really a false paradise like the Nexus in Star Trek 7 or the end of A.I. Like a typical romantic comedy protagonist, she’d rather be with the video-game playing, Adam Sandler-watching man-child than the blandly perfect guy (again, I’m frustrated/delighted that I still don’t understand if she made this choice for love or self-preservation)

    Re: him shaping the way she looked; I read it as not creepy but him just bringing her the type of clothes and style he remembers her being accustomed to (they did keep in touch over the years via letters after all I think). I mean it’s not like she DIDN’T miss the highfalutin styles of New York and loathe middle class middle America. Speaking of which, i do kind of like that the filmmakers gave her a potbelly in a few days and then it’s mysteriously gone in about the same amount of time. Which brings up two further questions – 1) Does she pig out on fast food and candy because she’s finally free of the shackles of marriage? Or is she doing it to plump up and change her appearance? 2) Does she furiously work out (off camera) to get back into shape because of NPH re-shaping her into his image of perfection, or because she’s already planning his murder and her return to society? Damn this movie is like LOST – every question brings out another question and I kinda love it.

  26. She didn’t need to kill him to get away from him, she needed to kill him to make her look like the victim in the whole scenario. To cover her arse when Ben started working out what was going on and called her out. Man, what a sick bitch.

    I agree with neal2zod, Ben was the relatable chump, she was just a cypher of evil, a psycho-socio-path. The title itself (this will blow your mind) GONE GIRL is one of those double-meanings – she’s physically disappeared, as well as completely gone mentally. No shred of decent humanity left.

    And I’m still annoyed by her leaving her bra on during the sex scenes.

  27. Darren -I too groaned at the Hollywood cliche of “the main actress has sex with her bra on (especially since it’s R rated and you totally see her naked later) – but Fincher actually knows what he’s doing here if you think about it (or over-analyze it) – The three or so sex scenes from Pike’s diary with Affleck involve both of them being fully clothed (I think he’s improbably wearing the same blue button down shirt in all three of the sex scenes if I remember correctly, even though since it’s from her diary who knows if these sex scenes ever even happened). I’m guessing because neither one has a defined position of power over the other one? (I’m just spitballing here)

    In Affleck’s sex scene w/ his mistress, she gets naked while he stays fully clothed, as it’s clear he’s definitely the one in power. In Pike’s sex scene w/ NPH, she’s fully clothed while we see his ass, as again, she’s the one in control. Hell, we see him full frontal as he lies dying, to further cement the nudity=vulnerability thing. We finally see our two leads naked (I still don’t get how people DIDN’T see Ben Affleck’s full frontal shot – it was right there!) at the end, in a completely non-sexual (even gross, considering the blood) context. Does it mean they’re both vulnerable? Still stuck on equal terms jockeying for position? Not really, she still seems to be in control but I’m guessing that’s what the movie is hinting. Man, for a movie i wasn’t sure I liked I certainly love talking about it.

  28. neal2zod: I totally saw Affleck’s dick, and I’ll be honest I was pretty impressed.

  29. By “Ben Afflecks full frontal shot”, do you mean we saw Ben(s)Johnson? If so, I missed that too. And when they were naked in the shower, the camera moved in on Pike from behind, then angled around slowly to her side-boob and I thought, okay, I was wrong, she does do nudity, then it stops at about half a millimeter from exposing her nipple. Carole King’s “so close and yet so far away”, played over in my head.

    I don’t know, maybe I should read Paul’s famous rant on Pike (I’m assuming it’s on the Reacher thread?). But I like your observations neal2zod, and I think Fincher leaves a lot of room for interpretation, though I don’t think he has ever been overly concerned as a filmmaker if we read anything in to his films. He is foremost a great stylist.

    Over the last week or so I’ve re-watched ZODIAC, DRAGON TATTOO and SEVEN, and loved all of them, ZODIAC in particular. “Before I kill you, I’m going to throw your baby out the window”. I remember shitting myself when I first heard that, years ago, and it had the same effect on me this time. ( I didn’t literally shit myself btw).

  30. I think it’s talking about relationships based on personas. Men have game to “win” women and may like that game. So they marry based on these personas and that either ends in divorce because they can’t keep up the act, or on the other extreme they may get Gone Girled.

    People today are too impatient to actually connect with each other. . That requires patience and vulnerability. Maybe the person you genuinely connect with doesn’t look like Rosamund Pike so instead you put on a show for someone who meets your superficial desires. They’re both toxic people and attract each other, tho she’s the only one who’s actually criminal. But you attract what you are, not what you want. To attract a genuine and sincere person you have to be genuine and sincere yourself.

    I hope this is true. Hasn’t really worked out for me yet.

  31. * and women may like that game.

    Typing on my phone

  32. Rosamund Pike’s performance was the worst thing in the film. Not that she is a bad actress, she isn’t. But the way she performed was very cold and calculating even in the first half (to be fair it was probably a directorial decision). Of course I have read the book ages ago and I knew what was coming but it would have been so much better if her performance was all American, brilliant, cool girl next door. If I had resources and everything I’d cast Reese Witherspoon as Amy. Now that would be a slap in the face for the unsuspecting viewer.

  33. RW played a sociopath rather well in ELECTION.

  34. She is a good actress (and Election was a very good film) but I’d chose her more for her sweet on screen quality she can be like she was in Legally Blonde or Sweet Home Alabama in the first half where we’d have no clue on how twisted she actually is. Ms.Pike’s performance in the first half was cold and distant and not really that likable – again this I think was a directorial decision rather than actress’ choice.

  35. Yeah since Witherspoon bought the rights, produced the film, and was rumored to star, I kept expecting the character to act more in line with Witherspoon’s established onscreen persona (at least at the beginning). Instead, she’s icy and distant from minute one, which again is obviously a deliberate choice, but a head-scratching one. I do think the casting of Pike works in that she’s more of an engima and has less baggage than an established star like Affleck, but it certainly doesn’t help split our sympathies like the movie seems to want to do. (Also a downside- even though she’s a relative unknown to probably 80% of moviegoers, most people probably remember her for Die Another Day where she *SPOILERS for a 12 year old movie* actually does start out sweet, innocent and likable before revealing herself as a duplicitous villain.)

    On another note – I’m certainly not trying to compare this superior movie to Prometheus, but it really reminded me of it in the way it was so frustratingly vague about certain things, and then it was incredibly on-the-nose and BIG STATEMENT-ish about other things. Tyler Perry has that line where he laughs about “you two are the most fucked up people I know” which is a good line and I guess insightful since it implies they’re stuck together like two sick peas in a pod – but from what we see, she’s the only fucked up one and Affleck isn’t particularly fucked up at all (i’d guess that over half of the audience has probably cheated on a partner). Pike also has that line about “We made each other miserable. That’s marriage!” but again, nothing we see onscreen backs up that she would think “marriage” made them miserable.

    Plus I still don’t know what to make of her “cool girl” speech, which was an interesting point (even if it seemed like a think-piece from Jezebel), but WE NEVER ONCE SAW HER ACTING LIKE/PRETENDING TO BE A COOL GIRL. Maybe that’s the point? She resented being forced to change and never forgave him for it, but in reality she might not have compromised/changed as much as she thinks she did. I definitely mis-remembered tons of shit and have made lots of exes seem worse than they really were in retrospect; the movie seems to be doing the same thing.

  36. At some point during watching it today, I thought someone behind me was fidgeting with their seat. About a few beats in I realized it was the score, and remembered there were no seats directly behind me at all.

  37. Overall it’s a very satisfying movie, even if Batfleck’s dick aint real.

  38. I’m a little late to comment thread here, but I’ll speak my piece. One thing that really jumped out at me was her relationship with her parents and how they made her into “Amazing Amy”, but that it wasn’t actually fun for her. It’s actually like the Bourne Identity in that she was trained to be hyper-capable but went off-script, which for her was smoking, eating burgers and candy bars, taking a break from presenting herself according to societal beauty standards. Maybe she thought she was more Bourne than she really was, since she couldn’t keep from losing all her money to her mini-golf buddies. Anyway, I thought her relationship with her parents merits some attention.

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