David Fincher described Gone Girl as a comedy. But then again, he thought Fight Club was a comedy too. Welcome to the dark and twisted world of Fincher films.
Gone Girl has been billed as a thriller. The adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best seller has been met with praise from critics and audiences alike, and it’s not surprising. Flynn wrote the screenplay, so the story was kept in good hands, and Fincher has already successfully bought novels to the big screen in the form of Fight Club and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
When Amy disappears on the morning of her wedding anniversary, a struggle has clearly taken place at the Dunne’s home; it seems she has been abducted. But it is clearly staged, and Nick is in the spotlight. Especially when the police find a collection of cryptic clues that Amy had left for Nick as a treasure hunt to lead him to his ‘present’. But where the media sees a missing perfect girl, Nick knows there is more to the situation than meets the eye. The film begs the question: How well do you really know your partner?
The casting of Nick and Amy Dunne is spot on, with enough friction to make some heat, but also create some turbulence for the couple. Ben Affleck was cast for his smile. Not because it was dashing, but because it was awkward. A pivotal moment in the film is at a press call when Amy goes missing and Nick pulls a moronic grin for photographers standing next to Amy’s poster. Brad Pitt was considered for the part, but I can only imagine him smiling in a smouldering way.
Rosamund Pike plays the tormented ‘perfect’ girl so well. Amy has a small fortune promised to her from her parents thanks to the success of the Amazing Amy books, loosely based on Amy’s life. Although, as she points out Amazing Amy was the perfect child she could never be. After Amy quit the cello at age 10, Amazing Amy became a prodigy. That’s a lot of pressure for anyone to deal with. But some handle it better than others…
Those comedic elements definitely creep into the film to satirise the media: the female news anchors and interviewers being particularly malicious, feeding their viewers what they want to hear. This dark commentary, on media and marriage mixed with shock and (some) gore. Fincher doesn’t do subtle, especially in the third act, as he has done in many of his other films. Indeed, rumours were doing the round that Flynn had literally thrown out the third act and started from scratch… it seems both Flynn and Fincher likes to keep the audience on their toes.