Monday, October 20, 2014

Gone Girl

By Sati. Monday, October 20, 2014 , , , , , , , , ,
(SPOILERS!)

On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) comes home to find opened front door, shattered glass table and his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) missing. Once Nick notifies the police the investigation and media circus begins and people quickly come to conclusion that Nick had something to do with Amy's disappearance. What happened to Amy Dunne?

When I read that David Fincher is working on the new movie along with the quick snippet about the book story I figured I need to read it. I devoured Gone Girl in 3 days and immediately read Flynn's other two novels. Flynn is a brilliant writer who creates amazing characters - everyone is so memorable, complex, interesting, worthy of their own story. But the most complex of them all is Amy.

The story of Gone Girl develops slowly, patiently - as we see the progress in investigation we also travel back via Amy's diaries - each sequence beginning with the change of track and the shot of Amy writing her diary, one of the many ingenious little touches Fincher used here. Her diaries show how she met Nick, how they fell in love - kind of - and how the marriage slowly began to collapse.
The answer to the key mystery - where is Amy, who took her, is she alive? arrives around one hour mark. It's fast for the film to reveal its main plot twist so early but here it is necessary - Amy is the main attraction and once we get to know the real her, the actual fun begins. Without the actress who could embody Amy this whole movie would collapse entirely - had Reese Witherspoon played that part we would be looking at Razzie nomination worthy work. The vanity of that woman! How could she read the book and actually think she could play Amy?

Thankfully the studio told her to fuck off and Fincher chose gorgeous and talented Rosamund Pike. I have not seen anyone embody a literary character so profoundly since Christian Bale in American Psycho. Except Pike does something even more impressive here - the way she looks changes. And it's not the simple lose/gain weight thing either. She can look angelic in one frame and in another? She is Devil incarnate.
At first the audience is led to believe that Amy is a pretty, well educated girl who meets a boy and that's all there is to her. Well, other than years of psychological damage that were done to her by her parents - the authors of Amazing Amy books, which were about the perfect girl, based on Amy but improving her in many ways in print. The actual Amy sometimes disappointed her parents - by things as trivial as giving up on playing tennis - and they would write Amazing Amy to excel in those things their actual daughter didn't master.

This is only addressed in the few lines Amy shares with Nick during the book launch party. But throughout the movie Fincher slyly brings Amazing Amy back - the website dedicated to Amy has "Amazing" in its name, her mother mentions the literary character over and over again. While it's not the kind of thing that would make the non book readers think 'I bet this messed her up!' it's there and once you discover the real Amy, it's easy to understand why she became the person she is today.
In what may be Fincher's most spellbinding scene the frame up montage/cool girl monologue from the novel is shown. It begins with the breathtaking image of Amy, wind in her hair, snapping the pens and throwing them out of the window. We see Amy faking her diary, spilling her own blood, buying incriminating stuff, doing things to make it look like Nick killed her. The levels of Amy's brilliance, and the whole cool girl tirade ring, combined with Reznor's and Ross' excellent music playing in the background, as truly triumphant. It was my favorite moment in the book and it was so much fun seeing it become the movie's best moment.

Amy becomes the girl on the run, hiding, assuming new identity, letting herself go. It's shocking how different Pike looked in those scenes - it looks like all the weight she gained went to her face. The transition is especially powerful when the movie goes into the third act - when we see her in a nightie, new hair cut, slim body in Desi's house. It's s powerful metamorphosis, both in the way she looks and the way she acts.
I think had Hitchcock seen this movie he would have proposed to Pike on the spot - while she is excellent throughout she is downright horrifying and fascinating in the film's third act, which is by the way,  uniquely - the film's strongest part. Pike looks gorgeous, that's one thing, but another is her calculated ruthlessness. The added scenes - of her manipulating events for the surveillance footage and the sequence of her killing Desi (something we just hear about in the book) in what must be the most realistically and sick looking murder scene in quite some time - the way she turns him over and almost sucks the life force out of him in pool of crimson, this petite woman, this delicate blonde annihilating this man, bathing in his blood - paint Amy as the scariest and most memorable villain in quite some time.

It's also fascinating because one of the many unique things this movie does is not being afraid to show that Amy is not always victorious - she gets robbed by ordinary trailer trash, but when she has the opportunity to plan and deceive while she is not vulnerable and she never let's her guard down - there is no one who can defeat her.
The third act is also where Pike's strongest scene lies - the hospital scene is a masterclass of acting with Amy almost laughing poor Rhonda in the face. At that point of the movie Amy is finally free and fulfilling a life long mission to be the Amazing Amy herself - perfect story, perfect husband, perfect life.

The freaking miracle on Missouri. The movie has way more of satire on media than the book did and those shots of Amy being all Princess Di are really quite scary. The film expands on book ideas - now it's not just "that perfect housewife" - in reality a monster - but "American heroine" being one. Amy commits cold blooded murder and she is a heroine because almost nobody knows - she signs autographs for little girls and nobody knows the truth.
I saw a lot of complaints how there is something off about Amy from the start - alerting the audience -  because of Pike's line delivery. I don't agree at all - she even looks angelic in certain scenes, like the scene where she tells Nick how her parents need money. And Pike needs a single word to break your heart - the way she says a baby would be 'an inspiration' is so sweet, innocent and powerful. Then she becomes a woman scorned but it's impossible not to feel for her when sees Nick with Andie. And then she becomes...well, if there was a plot twist Flynn used and told us this is the Devil, because the Devil was bored and wanted to play at being a suburban housewife? I'd buy it. I always thought the Devil, if real, was a woman. Men are not that cunning.

I may be wrong, but I believe this is Pike's first lead role. For years she played good roles in independent movies not many saw, or acclaimed movies where other people got accolades even though she was consistently excellent. She also played a suppporting pretty blonde character a bunch of times in big budget films with male superstars. As Amy Pike finally got her chance to shine.
It's very clear that Pike put a lot of effort to understand Amy and to honor Flynn's book. She read the books Flynn recommended - from American Psycho to Flynn's own Sharp Objects - to get into right mindset for the movie. She trained kickboxing to look athletic in the film's final act. She gained and lost weight. And she even consulted experts to come up with new handwriting style, one that would suit Amy's personality.

Pike's work here is nothing short of amazing - Amy is a complex, misunderstood and often hated character. But it's also a very rare character where a gorgeous protagonist girl is one at the same with vicious evil antagonist. It's so rare to see this and I commend everyone involved for following Flynn's vision and not making the movie more audience friendly.
When I read the book I hated Nick Dunne. Not just because he was weak - I hate weak characters, but because he was boring. Say what you want about Amy - she is not boring. Nick had some good observations in the book but we also read a lot about the way he treated Amy - by his own admission he ignored her and he didn't try to connect with her - and we read a lot about his affair that lasted a year.

 I was incredibly surprised that thanks to some tweaks in the movie - Nick's affair is given very little screen time, simple things like showing him care for the cat, the general weariness of the character - and Ben Affleck's portrayal I actually found Nick sympathetic. Affleck is really excellent even in simple things - the way he shouts 'Amy!' once he notices she is gone reveals a certain degree of being worried, the way he is actually amused when saying 'Amy brings the best of me' shows he is in on exactly how fucked up their relationship is.
Affleck is good both when he shows his character's temper - 'because she told me to!' - and in lighter moments like when Ellen Abbot insinuated twincest between him and Margo. It's definitely Affleck's best work, granted a lot of it comes from the fact he is well cast here, but he showed a lot of talent in the movie, and Nick Dunne is not an easy character to play.

(Almost) entire cast is superb as well - Carrie Coon delivered wonderful work as the most honest person in the movie as Nick's sister Margo. Coon's final scene in the film, despite the movie being in full blown satire mode by then, is the movie's most heartbreaking moment. Kim Dickens is also fantastic as another honest and decent woman - detective Rhonda Boney - who approaches Nick both with suspicion and benefit of the doubt.
Then there's Tyler Perry who is absolutely hilarious as Nick's lawyer Tanner Bolt and Patrick Fugit who adds humour to the movie as Boney's partner. Neil Patrick Harris does quite a bit with a character who was very creepy in the book but in the movie he comes off as sympathetic, clueless bastard. Lisa Banes is superbly cast as Amy's cold, controlling mother - you can see this woman contributed to making Amy the way she is now. I thought the only weak link was Emily Ratajkowski who was out of her depth here. I'm not sure she was well cast - Fincher and Affleck kinda showed a disappointing approach here by focusing on the line describing Andie as an 'alien sex doll'. So they thought with their dicks and they cast Emily because she has a sexy figure. But that was not primary reason why Nick cheated specifically with her. Amy was difficult and Andie was sweet, naive and it was easy to talk to her.  I did not get sweet from her nor did I get any of this from the movie. All I got was dumb. Which in the process made Nick even dumber for cheating on his wife with Andie. Had he found someone who we were shown to be sweet it would be at least some justification, but Andie talks like a whore  and the other times we see her don't help to build any sort of character.

One of the many things I adore about Fincher is that the man respects his audience. He doesn't zoom in on the things you are supposed to notice - he shoots them wide like the moment Nick hides clue three in his pocket. He assumes you are observant and you don't need hand holding through hard scenes nor pointing to notice important things. While other directors would do flashbacks to something that happened 30 minutes ago in the movie, Fincher doesn't do that. And seeing the reactions to this movie?  I think the man has far too much respect than the modern audience deserves.
The amount of issues people have with what is essentially a satire and fairly straightforward story is saddening - how did she get pregnant? Is this Desi's child? Why did Nick stay with her? How did she not go to prison? Why did the hospital leave blood on her? What about the surveillance cameras? Why did the movie end the way they did? Why didn't the police look into Amy's story? - I'm not sure whether people are too frightened by where the story went and want to brush it off as 'plot holes everywhere' or they left for bathroom 10 times during the movie, but these are not plot holes. It's all there.

Granted, I read the book before seeing the film and while some things are mentioned ten times in the book and only once in the movie, they are still there. There is nothing superfluous in Gone Girl - if a person says something or if a certain scene is included it's because it is important. While some things are easy to miss - such as leaving the blood on Amy so she would wash it away with Nick, symbolizing her baring it all, her true self, no bullshit only with him - other things like the sperm bank are indicated before in the movie with the entire conversation Nick and Margo have. Not only do people not connect the dots, they dare to accuse the script of plot holes. What did they want? A montage titled "The Magnificent adventures of Nick's sperm" beginning with Affleck jizzing in a cup? Also there are four separate scenes indicating that Amy tempered with cameras in Desi's place. Yet just because people didn't see another montage of Amy doing that, they scream plot hole. Mr. Fincher, this audience doesn't deserve you.
Another thing I love about Fincher is his unique style, achieved with his insistence on shooting a scene sometimes up to 50 takes. But it pays off - there are many flawlessly composed shots here, stellar, memorable images, such as the fantasy sequence of Amy's body floating in water, the crumpled find Amy leaflet on the street or very unique, weirdly unsettling opening credits.

There is also a great deal of symmetry here, more so than in any other Fincher's movie - while some things are straight from the book like the duality of sugar storm showing the beginning and end of love for Nick and Amy, many are movie additions - the brilliant sequences showing Amy locking herself up, mirrored by Nick doing the same later on or a ingenious scene of Nick opening the door and seeing no one outside and the same happening to Amy several scenes later - it's a trick that shows something similar happening to these two characters, a small little piece that adds - if only a bit - to the notion of them being right for each other.
The most obvious symmetry comes from the opening and ending of the movie and it's yet another showcase of Pike's ability - in the beginning she looks sweet, innocent, harmless. In the end? She's a goddamn predator. She actually looks frightening.

Fincher also does something new which is adding a pulsing, slow fade to black technique to the movie's most shocking and violent moments. People actually gasped when Nick pushed Amy and she hit her head on the stairs. And during the climactic murder? Everyone turned pale. These are incredibly intense scenes to begin with but the way Fincher handled them, which remained very realistic, in spite of this stylistic choice, only added more impact to them.
Then there is tremendous score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. I really liked their work in The Social Network and especially in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but I think their contribution to Gone Girl is their best one yet. From creepy intense tracks like Under Suspicion and haunting Consummation to soft, Badalamenti style mysterious tunes like Appearances, Just Like Us and Like Home the score adds so much to the film. The fact that the lovely Sugar Storm is reprised in one of the movie's most memorable moments is ingenious.

Gone Girl does something not many movies manage to do - it successfully blends thriller genre with satire. The film goes into satire territory completely in its third act and that is where the true star of the film shines the brightest - Pike is the only one who shifts her performance into satirical, no fear of coming off absurd ("Shampoo?"), being our guide through the last act. Nick, at that point, is just a cocoon caught in the web.
While the film could use some ideas from novel better - like the presence of Nick's father who only has one scene in the movie, or the desire to be perfect both Nick and Amy share, Flynn did a wonderful job adapting her own book. The film is as good of an adaptation as they could possibly make - staying true to the characters, events and the general spirit of the source novel.

I did write about misogyny claims here so I'm not gonna repeat myself here. The thing about Gone Girl and its importance is that its a high profile big movie where something unusual happens - a female character that would be killed off or sent to mental institution in a convenient plot resolution in any other movie, triumphs here. She doesn't go full blown insane, makes a stupid mistake and gets caught, as would be the case in dozens of different films. She is at the top. She is impossible to run away from. It's unique, unsettling and fresh. It's something new. How often do you get to say that about a movie?
There have been many insightful; and painfully realistic movies about marriage - sometimes impossibly depressing ("Blue Valentine"), sometimes just depressing ("Revolutionary Road"), provocative ("Eyes Wide Shut") and hilarious ("The War of the Roses"). Gone Girl combines all of those traits, working half an almost mythological cautionary tale - think of Amy as a siren, luring a man to his doom with the promise of everything he ever wanted, half a biting, entertaining satire with a dark twist - the question in the back of your mind, how well do you know the one you're with?

While the film does have some small flaws - the casting of Ratajkowski, not digging into Amy's personality enough and underutilizing some of the book's fine ideas - it is my second favorite Fincher movie after Se7en. While it's not as great and easy of a viewing as Se7en - while brutal, Se7en has shorter runtime and more packed storyline and is more fun than this, which is a dark picture of a love and marriage, things that are supposed to bring you happiness - I hope Gone Girl will prove at least half as influential as Se7en.
Perhaps the most admirable thing about the film is that it works on so many different levels. A commentary on the media and the public passing the sentence before any evidence was presented -  blinded with the righteous indignation that will make them feel like they are good, decent people (the recent situation of people calling for crowds to grab torches - literally - and going to Woody Allen's house after Dylan Farrow wrote her letter comes to mind), a painful look at two people growing apart in marriage, a mystery thriller about disappearance (I wonder what people who didn't read the book thought happened to Amy) and finally a horror movie about modern relationship.

The film also shows how such evil as Amy - which is made scarier by being a product of things you yourself experience like disappointing others, wanting to be admired, getting tired of waiting for something to happen and making it happen - lurks in the most ordinary place, quiet suburban home. She makes crepes for breakfast, she feeds the cat. She smiles at the children, she goes shopping, she waves to her neighbors. And she can cut your throat or make your life hell if you give her one displeasing look.
Like other Fincher movies Gone Girl deals with a theme that so many of us can relate to - religion (Se7en), ambition (The Social Network), anger (Fight Club), fear (Zodiac) - now it's love. You can choose to think that there really is no love here - just lies, pretending and hellish entrapment. Or you can choose to believe that Nick and Amy are so uniquely messed up that they become the modern kind of soul mates - all their issues, all their bad experiences, all the things that made them cold, insecure and fucked up shaped them into these two specific people who understand each other and who see each other better than anyone in the world sees them.

There's something oddly romantic about that.

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50 comments:

  1. What a fantastic review!

    I am still not a 100% sure as to where I stand with regards to the film. The novel is too fresh in my head and I loved it a bit too much. For me, the film's parts are greater than the sum of them. Pike is just extraordinary. This is going to reach Leo-from-last-year levels madness for me. Every little thing she does is spot on or even better than her book counterpart.
    I too loved the parallels and the music and the acting. Dickens was probably my favourite after Pike because I remember finding Boney a little annoying in the book but she just stood out every scene she's in.
    Also the Hitchcock thing- so accurate! I have a quote in mind about that in case I ever write a review of GG. My favourite scene in the movie was the murder.

    "ike other Fincher movies Gone Girl deals with a theme that so many of us can relate to - religion (Se7en), ambition (The Social Network), anger (Fight Club), fear (Zodiac) - now it's love."- I loved this part especially :)

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    1. Thank you, so glad you liked it!

      So glad you loved her this much! I'm gonna be rooting like crazy for her, and hey, sometimes my #1 actually win :) But I won't be watching Academy Awards live this year so I won't be keeping my fingers crossed as it airs :/

      Have you seen Deadwood? I think you'd love it!

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  2. GREAT work, Sati!!

    You pinpointed the reason Nick's love affair left me feeling so cold and iffy. It made Nick look dumb, and that didn't fit with the rest of the film.

    Beautiful final paragraph -- the one before the "help find Amy Dunne" image -- and very lovely words. I am so scared of Amy. I hate villains, I hate how much power they have over me, but I admire the film all the more because of the ability to create such characters and uncomfortableness.

    And yes, love! I have never encountered a form in love in fiction quite like this. Watching Gone Girl made me feel dirty, wrecked, cheated and ruined, and by now I've decided that it was in a good way. I did like it. I love all these forms of fucked up love (probably why I read fanfiction so much -- love is so powerful and so interesting), before reading your review I didn't even realise that I loved it here, too. Or that it was even present here.

    You did so so well with this Fincher event and all these gorgeous graphics and now, eventually, this review -- congratulations!!

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    1. Thank you so much!

      I think that the movie made a far better point of this being some very strange, very sick, love-imitation emotion than the book ever did, mostly thanks to Affleck and Pike having very strong understanding/hating chemistry. I don't think I can truly call it love because of how much evil and faking is involved but it is something that feels like love for these two specific people.

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  3. Great review!

    Totally agree on your bit about Fincher's lack of hand-holding. I didn't read the book, and I had no problem keeping up with the twists and turns (and it's not because I'm super smart or anything).

    Glad you enjoyed it, even with the high expectations!

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    1. Thanks!

      That is awesome, the amount of people who were lost in dozens of moments in this movie is honestly just embarrassing. I get not understanding some of it, but going 'plot hole!' when one clearly didn't pay attention is just ridiculous.

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  4. Brilliant review Margaret. We've already discussed the adaptation quite many times and I would once again gladly say that it's one of the most masterful book-to-screen movies I've ever seen. I see, we pretty much have the same perception and understanding of this movie and its characters.

    p.s. I rated it 9.8 too :)

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    1. Thank you! It's certainly one of the most impressive adaptations I've seen!

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  5. Fucking great review. I love the film so much as the soundtrack is right now my most played album to come out of that year so far....

    There's so many thing about the film that I love... even the little things such as Amy's victory jump where she clicks her heels during those jumps. That hospital scene is so great. Oh, Amy got the whole world... in her hands.... I am so in love with her right now. Rosamund should, should, should, should, should, should, should, should win Best Actress... I don't think anything else will top that. Certainly one of the best performances I had seen in years.

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    1. Thank you!

      The jump was so cute! I'd love for Ros to win it's been a while since they awarded someone relatively unknown, not since Marion I think.

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  6. Because of your previous review, I went to see this movie Sunday night. It was a midnight show and I was the only person in the theater.

    Addressing some of your points:
    1. NPH may be charismatic, but his character was creepy from the beginning. I felt like the movie foreshadowed this by having the robbery couple warn Amy. Either way, he oozed creep. The very emodiment of "nice guy." Having said that, his wealth was one of the biggest plot holes. The movie seemed to suggest Amy was with him for a long(-ish) period of time. Long enough that he should have had plenty of alibi to confirm his whereabouts during key "kidnapping" moments.

    2. Despite your protests to the contrary, this movie (and maybe the book, too—I only just started reading it) are hella misogynistic. Not because of the reasons I've seen cited elsewhere (the fake rape, the normalization of domestic abuse), but in its treatment of Margot and Detective Boney. It should be noted that all the women who aren't Amy (or her mother) seem to be brunette and all of them are white, white. Not only is their treatment in the story disempowering, but they have almost no agency other than to serve Nick's whims. Same goes for Tyler Perry, the seemingly most important defense lawyer in the country who drops everything to help White Nick who can't even afford him. A far better ending would have had Coon and Dickens teaming up to murder Amy, or—at the very least—murder Nick.

    3. The casting of Emily Ratajkowski was unfortunate, because she did seem bland compared to the rest of the cast. Still, a reading of dumb is limiting. She was smart enough to tell Nick to piss off when he slept with her that morning, then lied about loving his wife on TV that night. That's pretty "sweet" and in keeping with the surface nature of the "cool girl," a facade which only lasts until that bubble is burst. Andie is also "sweet" in that she handles being ignored with general good grace and has sex with Nick even as he's telling her to get lost.

    4. I absolutely love your take on the film's satire. While the media critique makes that overt, I missed the idea of a villainous antagonist engaging in Amy's behavior as occupying a satiric state. It's almost as if it takes the MRA strawwoman trope to its logical extreme, but demonstrates all the ways an MRA would be defenseless against her.

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    1. Well this may be your thoughts on Desi but comparing to the book he was far more sympathetic in the movie.

      "It should be noted that all the women who aren't Amy (or her mother) seem to be brunette and all of them are white, white." - not only is this a ridiculous thing to write but it's not true - what about Ellen, Shawna. Greta or Amy's mother? Boney was investigating the case, how is that serving Nick's whims? Your point about the murder is just disturbing, is that comment even serious or are you attempting some sort of parody here?

      Andie is sweet because she has sex with Nick after he tells her to get lost?

      I'm gonna ignore the MRA remarks....

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    2. I put "sweet" in quotes because Andie plays into the Cool Girl stereotype. She is "sweet" in that, if she has a problem with Nick's behavior (which seems likely considering she later outs him), she internalizes any negative feelings it generates—much like how Amy does during the first four years of her marriage (and prior relationship).

      I've gotten a little further in the book since my initial comment, and the racial makeup of the townspeople is addressed more explicitly in the text: "Carthage had become a bit (a very tiny bit) less Caucasian… but it was still so severely segregated that the only people of color I saw in my daily routine tended to be occupational roamers: delivery men, medics, postal workers. Cops. (‘This place is so white, it’s disturbing,’ said Amy, who, back in the melting pot of Manhattan, counted a single African-American among her friends. I accused her of craving ethnic window dressing, minorities as backdrops. It did not go well.)" Ellen doesn't suffer from the Amy situation, neither does Shawna. Greta may not immediately suffer in the story, but she runs off with a man who is suggested to be abusive.

      As to the murder, the ending is particularly grim because Amy gets away with her crimes. Like a Freddy Kreuger or a Jason Voorhees or Noah Cross.

      The horror stems both from Nick's entrapment and from Margo and Boney's suffering. Margo because she has effectively "lost" her brother, and Boney because she has to endure that painful scene at the hospital where her male colleagues tell her to be quiet so the mens can listen (despite the boost to her career breaking this kind of case would provide). Also, Boney ends up serving Nick's whims because she does not continue her investigation of Amy.

      Because they are situated as moralistic characters (Boney and Margo are lawful good all the way), their pursuit of extralegal measures to achieve "justice" would recalibrate the narrative's Nick-centrism (who is pretty boring). Because this does not happen, their suffering are essential elements of Amy's villainy.

      Unless you see Amy's crimes as vindicated. Her husband was abusive for years, both emotionally (with his withdrawal) and physically (isolating his wife without getting her consent, violating her sexual consent, compromising her sexual health because of his affairs). In that sense, Amy's actions could be viewed as a type of defense against further abuse. Extreme, yes. But not altogether unjustified

      The same could be said of Amy murdering Desi. Even though he seemed more sympathetic in the movie than the book, he essentially locked her away in his glass tower like a fairytale wizard. One of the things I liked best about Amy was her ability to recognize this almost immediately. By allowing Desi to "rescue" her, his guard was lowered and she could chose her moment to strike.

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    3. She outs him out of fear not the sweetness of her character.

      I still fail to see the link between your accusations and the story. Are you one of these people who needs to have minorities everywhere or screams racism at the movie? And the story is in no way misogynistic but I already wrote about that and I have no time nor energy to repeat myself.

      "Also, Boney ends up serving Nick's whims because she does not continue her investigation of Amy." - that makes no sense.

      In the book it was very clear Desi locked her up in there, but in the movie I did not get that sense. Perhaps it was a conscious choice of the actor and Fincher but for me, Amy's action here were worse than in the book.

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  7. Love your review! I truly agree with you, but come on, Andie is a very "fuckdoll of a girl" in the movie, it totally worked. But these are just opinions!



    I think that Nick and Amy are one of the movie couples who will stay with me for a long, long time. Maybe, it was the acting. I mean, Affleck is just the personification of the douche and Pike....damn, she still scares the hell out of me. Maybe it was the writing, or David's direction. I think that was just pure cinematic energy. Such a great chemistry.

    And what about the fawless cast? I would give an instant oscar to Coon. And tyler perry, yeah, the man got that swaggerish self-confidence. I would put my life in that man's hands. While reading the book I pictured James Franco for the part, but Perry nailed it.

    I've seen your articles about Fincher in these months, I found them really interesting. My top 5 would be a little different though:
    1) Zodiac
    2) Gone Girl
    3) Seven
    4) Fight Club
    5) The social network

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    1. I thougt it made Nick look even more shallow and made the whole concept of him cheating even more insane that he would just fall for her tits. She may be slutty looking but she had absolutely no appealing character traits, unlike in the book.

      Oh I'm glad they didn't cast Franco, he reeks of self-entitlement - not the swagger and charm kind, just pathetic and off putting kind.

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    2. I deduce you're not a big supporter of his work, I consider him such a complete artists who always tries to improve his skills

      Another great choice would have been Matt Damon. I mean, could you imagine the on-screen chemistry between him and Affleck? Those guys are like married

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    3. Franco? I think he's a bit of a poser. But he can be good and he is occasionally really hilarious like in Pineapple Express and This is the End

      Haha yeah Matt/Affleck pairing would be quite something :)

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  8. I fucking loved just about everything about this film. I still haven't read the whole book (I read up to just before we find out what Amy's doing but then got busy and never went back to it) but ugh, this movie was amazing. I love the character of Amy, from how her parents treated her and therefore shaped much of who she was by how 'disappointing' she was to that 'Cool Girl' speech (it is everything right now). And Rosamund Pike was just so perfect. Wow. Really good review!

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    1. Thank you! Here's hoping this is just the beginning of amazing roles for Rosamund.

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  9. Awesome review! I must have missed that "alien sex doll" comment about Andie. When I initially read the book, and saw Emily's casting, I was immediately against it because I didn't see Andie as a sex symbol. She was just a sweet girl.

    I can't wait to see this movie get several Oscar nominations. :)

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    1. Thank you! Yeah that line is why they cast her. I'm not sure what was it about Ratajkowski but she was just so wrong for the part when I was watching the movie.

      I hope so and wins too! :)

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  10. Love the review! I'm still waiting for this to come out here, but when it does, I think that it might become my favourite of the year. For now, I'm just going to listen to Reznor & Ross's masterful score. I think it's their best yet, too.

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    1. Thank you! The score is great, it's all I listen to lately, hope you'll finally see the movie soon!

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  11. Fantastic review and love your graphic at the top!

    Really loved this and it was great on a second viewing too. Me and my friend discussed it for days afterwards. I even suggested that Nick may have been in on the whole thing to get rich and famous from it, although I'm really not sure that holds up.

    I did think the ending felt rushed though, seem to be very abrupt. Only a minor quibble though.

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    1. Thank you! The idea with Nick would make for a good twist! While reading the book my ideas kinda focused on what could have happened to Amy but Nick was shady as fuck so at first that would be a plausible scenario too.

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  12. I do find that most people I talked with who disliked the third act didn't read book. Sometimes I think they missed a couple of things, other times it really is just a matter of interpretation. "Why did Nick stay with her?" is the most common question, and I think that's because the third act was widely misinterpreted to the point a friend thought it was totally unnecessary. I think the issue was Nick's character: Amy is very complex and intense, but Nick is the harder one to read and understand.

    About Pike's line delivery in the first act: I did find that *sometimes* she sounded a bit fake - but so did he! To me those scenes were intentionally too romantic, and too perfect. Even the music was so dreamy it sounded like a fairytale. I was afraid they would be too evident a clue that some scenes weren't real, or that something about Amy was off, but overall that wasn't the case when I saw it. A couple next to me kept sighing and kissing during the whole thing (which was annoying and disturbing, but they'd soon figured that out), totally buying it. So I simply thought it was Fincher's decision to make it that way, and that it was brilliant because it would say as much about the audience as it did about the characters.

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    1. It is really wuite strange given that Nick would be easier to show for the audience to understand. I am grateful at least 'Amy brings the best in me' stayed, that's enough of a clue for those who didn't read the book, or at least should be enough of a clue.

      I think Amy's diary entires in the book were even worse - while some of her thoughts are secretly my thoughts I hate myself for having - it would be nice to meet someone and fall in love - she just sounded so pathetic. Like, there are so many things you have so stop whining, woman. And then all those things she wrote she endured for Nick...I was relieved when it turned out it was a lie.

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  13. Great review Sati, I really liked the film, but there were some aspects that felt a little cold. I read a wonderful quote by Flynn, in which she said that something like, "in books you can be extravagant and gorge on the details. Films don't have that luxury." So I can totally understand why so much detail was left out, however, I do wish there had been more detail about Nick's relationship with Andie. In some ways, I think Flynn herself was reiterating to the audience just how shallow that relationship was, by removing even more details from it.

    I have said before that I do believe that Amy (despite her difficult upbringing) should have gone to prison (for various things). However, I think you make a good point "a female character that would be killed off or sent to mental institution in a convenient plot resolution in any other movie, triumphs here."

    This reminds me of what Glen Close went through with 'Fatal Attraction' when she played Alex. Close had studied for months on her character's personality and mental illness. The original script called for the Alex harming and killing herself--not others. The powers that be--primarily male producers--(including Michael Douglas), felt like that wasn't good enough. They wanted Alex to try to kill the wife, the child, the husband, etc. and then meet her "just desserts." In Close's opinion they jumped the shark by turning Alex into a homicidal lunatic.Ultimately Close was overruled and Alex was turned into a caricature.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, you can only do so much with a movie, even the one this long, but honestly I thought they did very well, sure I'd love for more things to be in it, but at least this adaptation, unlike Under the Skin or Game of Thrones, had so much of the book story on the screen.

      Awesome that you bring up Fatal Attraction, my line about killing off a character like that was about that one, I am familiar with the story of the changed ending, however I don't think it was necessarily the producers - it was the audience that didn't like the original ending on the test screenings so the studio changed it, I thought it was so not fair to Close who spoke of how much she loved the ending, she created such a great character and in the end they made her a cliche

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  14. Brilliant review!

    My opinion cannot be any closer to yours, especially the part about societal norms.

    I am so glad Pike was cast here, she is sooo good.

    The part where I my hatred toward Nick was bigger than the one I had for Joffrey was the part where Amy showed us how she planned it all and how she wouldn't let him go - so much awesomeness and inside pleasure.

    Lol, how come I am not surprised that there are people that post their idiotic comments here ;D :D. I thought Youtube was enough for them.

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    1. Thank you!

      Oh no, I get quite a lot of such comments but usually they don't even bother leaving their nickname or name so I don't allow anonymous insults or ramblings. If someone has the balls to at least sign their shit, I post them.

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  15. Fantastic review!

    Rosamund Pike performance was amazing (her killing Desi still gives me the creeps), but I wish the film have dipped further into the character of Amy. While I don't necessarily agree with her ways, Amy was brilliant, and I love how her mind quickly works, and Pike's portrayal further embodied the character.

    Ben Affleck surprised me here as well, his performance was good. I wasn't really for the Neil Patrick Harris casting, there was something off about him playing the character. Same goes for the actress who played Andie. I found it hard to believe that Nick would choose her over Amy.

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    1. Thank you!

      I wish they showed more of her psyche too, but you can only do so much in 2-hour long movie.

      Yeah Ratajkowski was not very good, they should have picked someone who was more likable and plain for the role, there are plenty of sexy girls who also look like they are sweet

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  16. Girl, BRILLIANT review here! I'm glad to get to read an analysis from someone who has read the book and appreciates what Fincher does as a director. Your paragraphs on Amy/Pike were also insightful...I would spit at the screen had Witherspoon slopped that role onto her plate. Pike will easily and deservingly get a nomination for this. I really need to see it again...I think I'll appreciate it significantly more second viewing.

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    1. Thanks! I already saw it twice and it was so much fun during the second viewing too, you really get to appreciate all the little things the actors do, especially Pike.

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  17. Simply stellar review! Comprehensive, detailed, engaging. Also loving your images and good job with asking and considering ALL the questions. I am so in love with Pike right now. And agreed, the final act was my favourite too.

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  18. What a fabulous review! As usual, you knocked it out of the ballpark.

    I can't comment on everything, so I'll pick a few. I loved the "cool girl" rant, too. In fact, in the novel, Amy had many clever, even brilliant, things to say. She is undoubtedly a despicable character, but I love some facets of how her mind works.

    That is a good point that Nick is a more sympathetic character in the movie than the book. In the book, we get to know him better. I can forgive being weak and boring, but I found him to be a passive-aggressive asshole, and his charming, good-guy persona camouflaged significant issues with women.

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    1. Thank you!

      I absolutely despised Nick in the book but I think Affleck and tweaks to the script made him much more sympathetic in the movie

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  19. Awesome review! I'm pretty much in full agreement with you. This was a spot-on adaptation for the most part, and the main casting choices were perfect. I'm not even sure I have seen Pike in other films, but she's definitely someone I will look out for now. Casting Affleck was 100% the right call, too. I remember the book said something about Nick being "handsome but with a punchable face" and I was thinking to myself, yep, that's Ben Affleck. :D

    Right now this is my favorite film of the year, and maybe my favorite from Fincher overall.

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    1. Thank you! It's my favorite of the year so far too, with only few possibilities to beat it like Foxcatcher for example.

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  20. I enjoyed the thrill ride and was kept on the edge of my seat. Having not read the novel, Gone Girl is a film I feel I need to watch again in order to understand how it ended up like it did, keeping an eye out for the details. Like you say, every scene is important in the movie, so you have to keep your eyes peeled! Good review

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    1. Thank you, glad you liked the film!

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  21. Awesome review! I'd give it 8/10, but I need to give it a second look. Affleck and Pike were perfectly cast, and I'd welcome Oscar nominations for both, as well as recognition for the outstanding technical work and Fincher's direction. I did feel Neil Patrick Harris was miscast though, and his presence took me out of the film. The rest of the supporting cast (apart from Ratajkowski) seemed right at home in it. A solid outing for most involved, for sure.

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    1. So glad you liked it! Harris for me was ok, but yeah Ratajkowski was not a good choice

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  22. This review and your defense of Gone Girl are articles I keep returning to.

    I love the original artwork as it is something I don't normally find on other movie blogs. Plus the site design is unique. I really love the collage aesthetic you employ with your art.

    Keep up the great work!

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  23. Well, I suddenly feel inadequate. I am glad that I didn't read this until I wrote mine though, because you touch on so many aspects of this film I wasn't focused on, and so I feel like I know the film better, or at least differently because of this. I saw a few different things, especially with regards to the unfolding of Amy (I didn't find her nearly as evil as you, but merely an exaggerated depiction of what man considers a strong willed woman to be), but overall I totally get where you're coming from.

    Brilliant review...just brilliant.

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    1. No kidding you guys see some of us like this? I think men should start getting medals of courage for even talking to women if they realize what they are capable of and they still talk the way they do. Wait...courage is the wrong word here:) Unfortunately I find men constantly underestimate women. that's why we need strong female characters.

      Thank you, glad you liked my perspective!

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