Gone Girl posterGone Girl is very good. And, I suspect, it’s probably even better if you haven’t read the best-selling book by Gillian Flynn (which I did, about two years ago). It’s just a solid, well-cast thriller that has enough twists and turns to keep things interesting, even if it does feel a tad too long.

I won’t say much about the plot, because the less you know going in, the more you’ll get out of it. But here’s the gist: Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) arrives home on his fifth anniversary to find his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) missing. A media circus ensues as questions arise about Nick and Amy, the state of their marriage, and Nick’s potential involvement in his wife’s disappearance and possibly, her death. The clues – literal and figurative – stack up as the movie flashes back on the couple’s path from instant attraction and romance to marital dysfunction.

The movie is surprisingly faithful to the book (some might say, to a fault). So before you start railing on the ending, you may want to read, or re-read, the book and save your salvos for Gillian Flynn. I didn’t particularly like the ending of the book. In fact, I recall hating it. But somehow, it seemed more palatable on the big screen. That’s largely due to the performances of Affleck and Pike who manage to be engaging, creepy, likeable, despicable and tragic (almost) all at once. Gone Girl pic

The supporting characters, while all well-played, are not nearly as developed on film as they are in the book, and that leads to a few gaps in the plot, but overall, Gone Girl has a lot going for it. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see director David Fincher, screenplay writer Flynn, Affleck, and almost-certainly Pike on the radar come ‘awards season’.

Gone Girl is not for everyone. It’s rated R for sexual content, nudity, language and at least one scene of bloody violence. If you’re generally turned off by dark and twisty, then the stellar performances alone may not be enough to win you over. But if you’re ready for a bit of good ol’ fashioned movie-making that focuses on flawed humans and nuanced performances more than superheroes and special effects, then consider giving Gone Girl a go.

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