I wasn’t going to see Gone Girl. I read the book last year and liked it enough to give it four stars on Good Reads. I discussed it a lot with Tim after lending him the book. The quality of the writing led me to read more of Gillian Flynn’s books. And yet I wasn’t going to see the film. I assumed the worst.
But then Ben Affleck was cast – Affleck who I unashamedly adore. And I found out David Fincher was directing. And then I was stunned by the beautiful poster. And everyone started raving about it. All this persuaded me to give it a chance, so we trekked over to the world’s most middle class cinema* – The Everyman in Walton-on-Thames – and settled in to one of their squishy sofas.
Husband and I enjoyed the film from two extremes – I knew everything about it and he knew barely anything. He knew the basic premise – Nick Dunne’s impossibly beautiful wife goes missing and he is accused of her murder – and he obviously knew there was likely to be more to it that just that. What he couldn’t know is that this is an incredibly faithful adaptation. So many times in other film adaptations, I’ve been disappointed with shortcuts, omissions, and deviations but there was no pointing out the ‘errors’ this time. I was able to watch without tutting or thinking how it could be done better.
Fincher started the film so quietly and you have to strain to listen. We noticed this with The Social Network as well. It’s like he’s telling you to lean forward, pay attention, focus – listen up and you’ll be rewarded with some great storytelling. His distinctive style is all over the film, and what could easily have ended up as trashy pulp in other hands, becomes almost iconic. I’ve read many reviews calling Gone Girl Hitchcockian and I completely agree – that very sinister subtlety that leaves you feeling on edge hours after the film has ended.
Every actor in the film was on point and were the characters as Gillian Flynn wrote them. Affleck and his dopey naivety, Carrie Coon and her quiet strength, Rosamund Pike and her dark perfection. Even Neil Patrick Harris convinced me – Barney Stinson was stopping me from see him as Desi when he was cast but he had it right from the start. I throughly enjoyed being frustrated by each of these characters, and loved being angrily resigned at the end of the film.
We spent our entire car journey home discussing it, which ended up being a very long journey after we got stuck on the M3, and even now I’m skipping around the internet reading blogs and reviews. It’s definitely a film that sticks with you, and I’m so glad I was caught up in the hype.
*I love you Everyman, I really do, but it is hilarious just how far from the crusty multiplex of my misspent youth you are. The ads before the film (stage schools and exclusive Battersea Power Station apartments), the wasabi pea snacks and wood fired goats cheese pizzas delivered to your seat, the RIDICULOUSLY posh people in the audience. I had a wry smile on my face as soon as I walked in, which only got bigger when the manager popped in between the ads and the film to introduce himself, and ask if we needed anything. Still, I do appreciate the sofa and cushions to snuggle in to. (What have I become?)