★★★★★ | Gone Girl
When the movie opens on a quiet July morning in a small Missouri town there is no visible indication we are looking at a man who has fallen on hard times.
It turns out that Nick Frost has been virtually unemployed since being laid off from his job on a magazine in NY and is now penniless. He and his wife live in a large ugly suburban house that they lease using the remains of her depleted trust fund, and this morning on his 5th wedding anniversary he is feeling sorry for himself and sipping a shot of Bourbon in the small empty bar he owns with his sister. As he sounds off about the stale state of his marriage the telephone rings. It’s his neighbour telling him that the front door of his house is wide open.
That’s not the only thing he discovers when goes back home, as the house is totally deserted and furniture is turned over and broken as if there has been a struggle of sorts. When the police check it out they find signs of blood and enough clues to be concerned for Amy’s safety and decide to mount a Press Conference the next day to appeal for help. Nick is joined for this by Amy’s psychiatrist parents who are famous authors having once made a fortune on a series of books called Amazing Amy that ruthlessly exploited their daughter’s childhood.
Initially, there is an overwhelming abundance of sympathy and support for Nick from both the police and local community but as Detective Rhonda Boney keeps uncovering further clues that indicate that Nick may be responsible for his wife’s disappearance, the mood rapidly changes. Egged on by local TV pundits who have already declared that Nick is guilty of killing his wife, everybody turns against him. When his young mistress goes public about their affair it seems like now that a motive has been established, they can be no further doubt about his guilt.
Things are far from what they seem in this latest movie from the master of suspense director David Fincher who excels at complicated thrillers such as this. By using a series of flashbacks he has shown that this once fairytale romance is now on the rocks, but even so, it’s impossible to comprehend the depths that Amy will go to resolve it in a manner that will try and exact such diabolical revenge on her unfaithful husband.
It is one of those movies that is best enjoyed knowing little beyond these bare bones of the plot because what follows is so astonishing it will certainly stupefy you. Just when you think you have it all worked out, the story will twist another 360 degrees to confound you yet once again. It is however unquestionably one of the BEST movies of 2014.
Ben Affleck is superb as put-upon Nick who you may dislike for wanting his own way, but even he doesn’t deserve the punishment Amy wants to exact on him. The movie, however, belongs to the British actress Rosamund Pike who, in an Oscar-worthy performance, is nothing less than outstanding as Amy. It’s an amazing revelation to see her being so brilliantly devious, manipulative, demented and stunningly seductive when she wants her own way. She is such a sheer joy to watch (apart from all the bloody bits naturally).
Lest I should forget, there are also some great supporting turns that deserve mention too. Kim Dickens (TV’s Sons of Anarchy) as the Detective, Carrie Coon (TV’s The Leftovers) as Nick’s sister Margo, Neil Patrick Harris as Amy’s stalker boyfriend, and Tyler Perry for once playing it straight as Nick’s hot shot lawyer.
The script, the first ever written by Gillian Flynn, and adapted from her own novel gave Fincher a great canvass to work with, but it is his superb attention to the most minute detail that makes it such the spectacular roller-coaster ride that it is.