Ever since Gone Girl came out, I have heard from a ton of people that it was a great movie. I honestly have always had a soft spot for Ben Affleck’s movies, and usually am a fan of most movies I see, but this film went above and beyond my expectations. I really liked this movie even though it isn’t the type I usually enjoy watching—I’m a big action/comedy/Marvel kind of guy—this was dark and I left the theater feeling physically unsettled. I actually needed to get froyo afterwards to make myself feel better, ‘cause froyo fixes everything. I’m avoiding spoilers in this post, so feel free to read if you haven’t seen the film yet.
The first clue that the movie was going to be great was the fact that the theater was packed on a TUESDAY night two weeks after premiere. I went with a group of 3 other guys, and we were lucky to get seats together. We were also really lucky to have not brought any significant others with us, as this was literally the opposite of a date night movie.
The next set of clues for me, were in the opening credits. Gillian Flynn, the author of the book, also did the screenplay for the movie. I also noticed that Trent Reznor did the sound. Although I’m not really a fan of Nine Inch Nails, I recognize the intelligence and somewhat experimental nature of his music. While I knew beforehand that the Ben Affleck and Neil Patrick Harris were in the movie from the trailers, I was honestly a bit shocked to see Tyler Perry’s name in the opening credits and surprised to see that Reese Witherspoon was a producer. All of the producers did a great job getting the best possible people to adapt the novel and do the music.
I trusted in Batman and Barney to anchor the acting crew, but was wrong. They didn’t need to, as ENTIRE cast did an outstanding job from top to bottom. Rosamund Pike blew my mind. Her on-screen chemistry with Ben Affleck was palpable. I believe Tyler Perry may have saved the movie from being TOO dark and depressing. He provided just the right amount of smart comedic balance to keep the film grounded. In my opinion, this was easily the best acting he’s done to date.
Part of what made me feel so unsettled by the end of the film was how relatable the characters were. They all felt real because all of them had flaws. It is easy to project oneself (and exes) onto the characters at various points in the movie, or at least empathize with them.
The plot itself was a huge mindfuck (excuse my French). Although it was a bit crazy and nearly unbelievable at times, it was self-supporting, felt logical, and flowed really well. Its unpredictability kept me guessing at what was happening next and asking my friends next to me if what I thought I saw had really just happened.
I need to give another shout out to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for the music. Their selection enhanced everything happening on screen and played a huge role in keeping me just a bit physically off balance. The sounds forced your ears to tell your gut that something just didn’t feel right.
Unfortunately, I can’t comment on the filmography much at all. I just couldn’t pay close attention because my mind was firing in too many directions all at once. If/when I watch the film a second time, I will be sure to concentrate a bit more on the shot selection, framing, color palette, etc. now that my mind won’t be turned to mush as much as before.
I felt that the film actually had some smart commentary and reflection on a huge range of topics pertinent to modern US society. It touched on the media, feminism, psychology, relationships, power dynamics, and abuse, both physical and emotional. It showed how twisted everything could be. Gillian Flynn really captured how relationships can shift over time and how both men and women can feel trapped trying to live up to expectations while everything on the surface looks calm and perfect. She illustrates how biased the media can be and show quickly and arbitrarily public opinion can shift.
This is definitely a movie that can make you stop, reflect, and think, which is really refreshing. This movie did not have a Hollywood feel at all and didn’t really rely on tired old tropes—it was more of an indie film with a big budget. I hope this film continues to do well at the box office so studios will take some more chances and take on edgier projects like this in the future.