Gone Girl Movie Review
Let’s get to the point. Gone Girl is a terrific novel. Except for the ending, which is terrible. David Fincher, the only director who could possibly do the story justice, was hired to make a movie to do the story justice. The result is a well made, entertaining thriller with a great twist—but it is not the amazing masterpiece that buzz has indicated.
And the ending is still bad, though not nearly as bad as in the book, even though it is exactly the same.
Movie reviews for Gone Girl are going to be divided into two: those by people who have read the book, like me, and those who haven’t. Those who hadn’t read the book going into the movie are going to be introduced to an incredible, jaw-dropping twist; those of you who already know what’s going to happen, well… you already know what’s going to happen.
The movie is a faithful adaptation of the book, largely thanks to the fact that author Gillian Flynn wrote the screenplay. Despite the major plot points remaining the same, however, the movie surfaces darkly comedic undertones—something that comes in handy as the story rapidly approaches its absurd conclusion.
Ben Affleck is terrific as Nick Dunne; perhaps no role has ever been more fitting for the good-looking, likable-to-the-point-of-annoying actor. He embodies Nick much in the way I recall from the book. But equally strong is Rosamund Pike, who hits all the right notes with a very complicated character.
Fincher does what he does best, bringing the material to life with a brooding intensity. Gone Girl looks terrific and is consistently entertaining, though the film is a small step down from the director’s best work.
As much praise as you’ll hear, Gone Girl is not perfect. Some of the casting is questionable; Neil Patrick Harris, also known as the NPH, is woefully out of place. The fault lays more with his underdeveloped character than the actor himself, but he sticks out like a sore thumb nonetheless. There are patches that don’t work; the segment in the rented cabin, for example, seems out of place (like in the book). Overall, Gone Girl isn’t as gripping as some of Fincher’s other works.
More than anything, the ending still sucks. There are those who will say it’s an allegory for marriage, or some other kind of bullshit like that. I applaud those who enjoy the ending, but it simply makes no sense, is so unbelievable, so ludicrous and obnoxiously unsatisfying, that the vast majority will not like it. The ending in the movie is better than the book’s, if only slightly, thanks to the decision to play it out like a darkly comedic satire. Fincher is one of the rare directors who could pull an ending like this off, and while he still fails, he gives it a chance—which is all I could really ask for.
Gone Girl is a good movie, but thanks to a terrible ending it couldn’t avoid and a few other clunky parts, the movie is not among Fincher’s finest. It’s still worth seeing, though, because even an okay Fincher movie is better than most others on the market.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.