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Gone Girl - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Gone Girl
Directing: B+
Acting: B
Writing: B
Cinematography: B+
Editing: B

It's particularly difficult to write about a movie like Gone Girl, with its plot twists and turns so meticulously left out of all media promotion and nearly all media coverage. It's the kind of movie that far too many details, if revealed in, say, this review, might piss off readers as being infuriating spoilers. So: I'll do my best, but if you're particularly sensitive to this kind of thing, just skip reading this until you've seen the movie.

Not that I think you should rush out and see it, mind you. Gone Girl is widely thought of as "smart cinema," but it should be noted that's for mainstream audiences without particularly discriminating tastes. By that standard, it is a smart, provocative and engaging movie. If that's the only standard you have, then by all means, go see it, knock yourself out, be thoroughly entertained. At this movie, you will be.

But for the rest of us, if we're really honest, Gone Girl is merely . . . adequate. I've seen raves of this movie insisting "it will blow your mind," and you know what? Not quite. Not for the mind that really thinks, anyway.

It's not bad, to be clear. It's even fascinating that the script is written by author Gillian Flynn, the woman who wrote the novel of the same name, given the subtext of gender politics in the story. Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne, who is really kind of a douche; Rosamund Pike plays Amy Dunne, who is really kind of a bitch. (Is she a cunt, as she is called at one point? You decide!) The particular ways in which Amy is a bitch, though, makes one wonder how well this might be received if the novel had been written by a man. One can say this much about the movie: it does have the potential to cause stalemated debate between the sexes. Unfortunately, most of those debates will probably be ill-informed and ridiculous.

For his part, Affleck walks a fine line between sympathetic victim and disgusting villain. Nick is not a perfect man, but it is a while before we know for sure whether he killed his wife. The story switches, though, much earlier than you might expect, to the point of view of Amy -- providing answers about her disappearance that themselves create more questions. Rounding out the cast are Carrie Coon as Nick's twin sister Margo; Tyler Perry (of all people) as Nick's defense attorney; and Neil Patrick Harris as one of Amy's creepy stalker exes. Harris does not get a lot of screen time, but he milks the creepy bit for all it's worth, and winds up being the most pivotal character in the story.

The thing is, Gone Girl is just believable enough to make average audiences lap it up, and is just unrealistic enough to irritate the rest of us. There were moments of dialogue between Nick and Amy where I found myself thinking, People don't talk to each other like that. It took me out of the movie. But, you know what? I'm a nitpicker. You'll probably love it. 87% of critics can't be wrong, can they?

Ben Affleck offers a nuanced performance in this movie, but it's still basically a paycheck job, and it feels like one. This is no Argo. Granted, the point of going to the movies is to be entertained, and by that measure, Gone Girl delivers. It just doesn't deliver the way too many people seem to be claiming. This movie is a tad over-hyped. It's merely good enough for a trek out to the cinema, until the next in a long line of movies that somehow convinces us it's unique but is really just like all the others comes along.

Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike are twisted marital rivals in GONE GIRL.

Overall: B
2 comments or Leave a comment
damitwayne From: damitwayne Date: October 6th, 2014 08:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

Spot on

That was the best review of the movie I have read. I thought I had missed something. Thank you for reassuring me.
cinema_holic From: cinema_holic Date: October 6th, 2014 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Spot on

My pleasure! :)
2 comments or Leave a comment