Monday, December 8, 2014

That Bitch Ain't Right

Gone Girl 
Director: David Fincher
Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, Missi Pyle
Released: October 3, 2014
Viewed in theaters:  November 6, 2014

Hmmm....better safe than sorry, right? SPOILERS AHOY! 

Back in early 2013, I read the massively popular book (which I first heard about from the NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast as Linda Holmes raved about it several times) which I was fortunate to read for free and without having to wait for it at the library because my mom's book club was also on the pop culture bandwagon and read it for their book club so my mom bought the book and I was able to read it after her. I enjoyed the book, but in a way, I wish I hadn't read it because it would have been interesting to see the movie not knowing what happens because there are lots of twists and turns. Nevertheless, knowing full well what happens, I still enjoyed the film very much and thought the adaptation from novel to script was flawless, although it probably helps that the author, Gillian Flynn, also wrote the script. She is a former writer of my favorite entertainment magazine, Entertainment Weekly and not surprisingly they loved both movie and book. But I think that has more to do with that they're both legitimately good and they're not trying to kiss one of their own's ass. Although that would have been awkward if they had hated the story and had to write a negative review.

Nick and Amy Dunne, a couple married for four years are played by Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Now I'm sure everyone already knows that Reese Witherspoon bought the rights for the movie and was going to play Amy, but David Fincher said he didn't think she was right for the role and cast Pike instead. Although Witherspoon is the much bigger name (I only recognized Pike from that forgettable Tom Cruise movie a couple years ago, Jack Reacher, in which she plays a forgettable character), I think it was a smart decision. I don't know if Witherspoon could have pulled off ice queen as well as Pike does, and I don't think she and Affleck would have complimented each other as well physically since she is so tiny. Also, having two huge stars might have been a little distracting.  

Luckily Amy is anything but an unforgettable character. She is the daughter of wealthy New York parents who made their fortune writing a book series called Amazing Amy which is based after their daughter and the character grows up with her, except that she always seems to be one step ahead of the real Amy. She and Nick were both writers for magazines and moved to Nick's home state, Missouri, when his mother became sick. Amy is unhappy and bored. She finds out Nick has been cheating on her with one of his creative writing college course students. On the day of their fifth wedding aniversary, Nick comes home to find not only that Amy is gone, but that it looks like there has been a struggle in the house and the police find a lot of blood that has been mopped up in the kitchen. Needless to say, Nick becomes suspect #1 in his wife's disappearance. Now if you hadn't read the book, you would have no idea if he was innocent or guilty. There are little clues that seem to indicate that he is guilty such as he is trying to throw the police off a trail that leads to his father's house that a clue Amy left for him (something she did every year for their anniversary) that leads him there. However, the police on the case (played by Kim Dickens and Patrick Fugit) are keeping a sharp eye on him and find a journal there written by Amy indicating that she is fearful of her husband and afraid that he is going to kill her. It is found in a furnace, partially burned. Nick is painted even more guilty when he is shown smiling at a press conference held for Amy's disappearance (you have to feel bad for the guy; he was told to smile!) and he is ripped apart by Missi Pyle's Nancy Grace-esque TV national news reporter. He becomes harassed by the reporters and can't leave his house with running into them. Even his twin sister, Margo (played by Carrie Coon) questions whether he had anything to do with Amy's disappearance when she finds out he's having an affair.

Affleck hires a New York attorney who is famous for winning difficult cases for his high-profile clients. He is played by Tyler Perry and so I'll just insert my joke about Ben Affleck really needing the Tyler Perry Hidden Immunity Idol that nobody will get unless they watch Survivor.


I'm sure there's very few people who haven't read the book or seen the movie (or both), but I want to cover all my bases! After all that wondering over whether Nick is guilty or not, we go back to the day of the disappearance, only from Amy's POV because she is very much still alive and driving away from her old life and telling the audience that she has set up her husband to take the fall for her "death". Although maybe I shouldn't put that word in quotes since her plan is to eventually commit suicide and have her body found in the river. However, she keeps putting off that little task. She has gained weight and changed her appearance so nobody recognizes her since she is all over the news. Since deciding not to kill herself, her plan changes. She has money, but it will eventually run out...although it runs out much quicker than she anticipates since she is robbed. She seeks help from an ex-boyfriend (played by Neil Patrick Harris) who has a creepy obsession with her and used to stalk her. We find out that Amy has had other interesting conflicts with ex-boyfriends in her past and that she is a master manipulator. In fact, the more we learn about Amy, we find out she is basically a sociopath. In the end, Amy (after killing Doogie Howser who she blames for keeping her captive and was the one who kidnapped her) goes back to Nick and keeps on manipulating him and they continue being a married couple.  This one is sure to get a few nominations come Oscar season.

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