release date: 3 October 2014 (Canada)
run time: 149 mins
considered: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
director: David Fincher
starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, David Clennon, Lisa Banes, Missi Pyle, Emily Ratajkowski, Casey Wilson, Lola Kirke, Boyd Holbrook, Sela Ward
movie summary: A quiet Missouri town is about to be turned upside when the local golden boy’s wife goes missing and the national media descend on their town to get answers.
Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) was born and raised in a small town, the same town his parents still live in and where his sister Margo (Carrie Coon) owns the local bar called “The Bar”. Nick left many years ago to pursue a writing/teaching career in New York City where he met his future wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) at a party. Amy is also a writer and her parents are writers who wrote a series of children’s books. Thanks to her parent’s successful careers, Amy has a trust fund that has over one million dollars in it. When the recession hits both Nick and Amy lose their full-time jobs and begin to eat away the trust fund until Nick gets a phone call that his mom has cancer.
The couple, celebrating their third wedding anniversary, pack up their lives and head back to Nick’s hometown so he can care for his mom. Their relationship hasn’t been perfect and they fight over whether having a baby will save their marriage or not. Nick’s mom dies from cancer causing him to be depressed, sit around the house all day playing video games, and spending time with his sister drinking at the bar. Thanks to Amy’s finances, Nick buys half of The Bar so he can have something to do. The couple appear to have the perfect life on the outside but behind close doors is the exact opposite. Tension is running at an all-time high between the pair when Nick’s life is thrown a curveball on his fifth wedding anniversary.
After getting up and having breakfast together, Nick goes down to The Bar only to get a phone call his cat is outside of the house. When Nick returns home he finds his living room thrashed with blood splattered all over the place in the kitchen. He searches the house and can’t find his wife Amy. He calls the police to report his wife missing so detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) shows up to the house with her partner Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit). They question Nick before bringing him down to the police station to further discuss the case. Gilpin doesn’t like Nick from the beginning and thinks he is responsible for his wife’s murder. Detective Boney on the other hand believes everyone is innocent until proven guilty so gives Nick the benefit of the doubt until she begins to further investigate him.
Nick has a boat load of financial debt and actually doesn’t own his half of the bar. The fact he needs money is enough motive to kill his wife after upping her life insurance a week before. The police begin to tail his every move as they try to piece together Amy’s disappearance. Police forensic teams sweep their house to find blood everywhere despite someone’s best efforts to clean up. Further research shows that Nick was spending money like crazy on guys things like golf clubs, fishing stuff, and home entertainment equipment. The picture looks grim for Nick, who is staying with his sister, as the police begin to pick apart every detail of his life. The national media shows up when Amy’s parents get to town to help aid the search for their daughter. Nick doesn’t play the part of grieving husband that well which raises question among the local media, Amy’s parents, and the police. Margo suggests that Nick hire the great defense attorney from New York, Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry), to come to his defense before it’s too late.
Every year Amy and Nick do a treasure hunt for their anniversary gifts, so when the police learn about this game they stumble across Amy’s diary. In the three-year old diary there are entries about physical and psychological abuse as well as Amy’s fear that her husband is going to kill her. When the cops break down the diary to Nick, he is unaware of the majority of the writings while being surprised his wife tried to buy a gun. The journal and treasure hunt lead the cops to the weapon that was used during the alleged kidnapping and murder. Nick is booked for the murder of his wife Amy and is about to head to trial.
Tanner bails Nick out on a $100,000 bond so he can sleep at home as their prepare for the trial. Through his research, Tanner has discovered some dark secrets about Amy and thinks he has a good case to help Nick not get the death penalty. The whole case is about to be turned upside when the least expected thing happens, but it may be the only thing that gets Nick off the hook.
my thoughts: There’s only word to sum up Gone Girl and that is WOW. This was an AMAZING movie. There are so many twists and turns with this plot and story. Even when you think you know what’s going to happen next, you are blind sided by a new turn that takes you into a completely new direction. The story is just so creative with a whole bunch of character changes that will leave why or how. I’ve never seen anything like this before, I guarantee you haven’t either.
When Rosamund Pike’s Amy character goes missing you begin to feel bad for Ben Affleck’s Nick character. He is just your regular guy who is always down on his luck, until he meets Amy. Together they have built up an extraordinary relationship and life but like I mentioned earlier, not everything is all roses as most people would see on the outside. Nick has his anger issues and gets it from his dad. He is loyal to his sister but that may the only person who truly knows him and his darkest secrets. Nick doesn’t know how to act when the media shove their cameras in his face. When he doesn’t act like he cares that his wife is missing, the press just push themselves even closer. He doesn’t appear to have a breaking point but when all his dirty laundry is splashed all over the national media, Nick has to come clean and puts on his game face to change people’s perception of him. I spent the whole movie wondering what he was hiding when he’d check his phone all the time. I wondered if he actually pulled the trigger on the murder or if hired someone else. When he’s about to go to trial and finally catches a break for his own defense, I begin to feel bad for him and only want the best for him whether he stays or goes with the developing situation.
On the the hand, there’s a lot of buzz for Rosamund Pike. Majority of writers and critics believe that this movie could be her big Hollywood break through. She has a stellar career to date but her role as the missing Amy Dunne takes the profile of a “sociopath” to a whole new level. I can’t tell you everything that her character does because that spoil so much of the movie, but just know you have never come cross someone like her before. She is playing a game with everyone and this may be one of the greatest mind games ever played. She is so smart, cunning, daring, and has enough guts to pull everything off with a hitch. Even when her plan goes through some rough parts she manages to adapt on the fly and continues on with a new direction to get to the same end goal. The only way to describe her character and acting is pure brilliance.
I know you just read that last paragraph and wonder what any of that has to do with the movie but like I have mentioned before, not everything is as perfect as it appears. No matter what you think, like if Nick and Amy planned this whole thing, that Nick murdered his wife, that Amy is alive and well, that someone else kidnapped her, or that none of those things actually happened, you will be taken on a ride when you watch Gone Girl.
my final thoughts: This movie is a long two-hour and thirty-two minutes mind game that will leave you guessing what really happened between Nick and Amy Dunne. You will be shocked with each new plot twist and your loyalty to certain characters will flip-flop several times throughout. The ending will leave you with an empty feeling in your stomach but that was the whole point of the movie, to make decide what really happened and what will come in the future. My advice is get some popcorn, pop, and other snacks to sit down and enjoy this masterpiece that is one of the year’s best movies.
my star rating: 9 out 10
rottentomatoes.com: 87% out 100%
rogerebert.com: 3.5 out 4.0