“Gone Girl,” based off of a book of the same name, came in strong in the beginning, shocked viewers with plot twists in the middle, but still managed to fizzle out by the end. The movie relied too heavily on a flimsy plot that was held up only by gimmicky suspense. The mystery/thriller would’ve fallen flat if A-list actors such as Ben Affleck and Neil Patrick Harris didn’t carry the project.
The movie opens to Nick Dunne (Affleck) returning from the bar he co-owns with his sister to find his wife, Amy, missing, and flipped tables and chairs that suggest someone has broken into their house. It also happens to be the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary, and Amy has consequently left clues to lead Nick to his anniversary gift. Affleck’s portrayal of Nick was very realistic, and he was able to bring the “wife murdering” character down-to-earth enough that he was sympathetic and relatable to the audience. Harris, who played Amy’s high school sweetheart, also delivered a very authentic version of the grown-up “prep-schooled rich kid.”
The chief detective helps Nick to trace the steps of his wife’s movements up to her disappearance through the clues, and maintains his innocence while the media is abuzz, calling Nick a liar and a murderer. Amy’s diary that she started at the beginning of their relationship recants the fairytale story of the couple’s first meeting, and the moments of Amy’s alleged mental and physical domestic abuse that led to her disappearance.
Director David Fincher, who also directed projects such as “Fight Club,” “The Social Network” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” seemed to have an agenda to stereotype both men and women in “Gone Girl.” There were several mentions to how husbands accused of abuse are expected to play the role of the “dumb husband,” to the press and the middle-aged Nick (very stereotypically) has a 20-year-old girlfriend on the side of his nagging wife to solidify his place as a resident “man’s man.” Beside Nick’s sister, who is very likable, every other woman in the movie is either portrayed as a manipulative conniver, or an airhead who acts as a pawn to the connivers. This sets the female characters up to be aggravating, unsympathetic and dull, perpetuating the sexist belief that “women are crazy, and shouldn’t be trusted.”
While “Gone Girl” flowed effortlessly from one scene to the next and had enough twists and turns to keep viewers on the edge of their seats for the duration of the two and a half hours, the twists led to major plot holes and the ending left much to be desired.
Fincher’s beats the dead horse by highlighting the parasitic nature of the media, and how easily viewers become enraptured, and then disenchanted by hyped stories on the news. While this theme is very relatable to us in the modern age, it isn’t new or challenging, and doesn’t attempt to teach us anything about the nature of society, unlike Fincher’s other dark dramas.
While the film lures you in with the promise of thrilling suspense, it ultimately falls flat. While I can’t say that I wasn’t entertained, I know that if I were to re-watch it, the plot holes that were once just bumps in the road, would then become glaringly obvious and hinder the original effect of the movie. After you know what’s around each of the corners, the movie is no longer satisfying and could bump against the edge of boring.