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"Gone Girl": Marital Bliss Gets the Fincher Treatment 

Tuesday, Sep 30 2014
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Marriage is a minefield in Gone Girl, David Fincher's expertly executed, mordantly funny adaptation of Gillian Flynn's 2012 novel, about a writer named Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) whose wife Amy (Rosamund Pike, in a breakout performance) suddenly goes missing. Its silky aesthetics and tonal score (by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross) creating an overarching mood of nightmarish menace, the film purports for its first half to be a whodunit, with the awkwardly genial Nick as its prime suspect, especially as a raft of clues ­— and revelations about his unseemly personal behavior ­— come to light. During this early stretch, a compelling Affleck comes across as subdued and uncomfortable, thereby further stoking suspicions about his character's guilt. However, as with its source material, the film, which crosscuts between the investigation into Amy's apparent abduction (and murder?) with her diary entries about their early days together, takes a dramatic left turn at its midpoint, thereby thrusting the action into far thornier realms. Generating both tension and bleak humor from its twist and the madness that ensues, Gone Girl transforms into a hysterical examination of personal and cultural notions of dependency, desire, domination, and the roles we assume (and demand that others feign) in our quests for relationship happiness. Couching its commentary in a propulsive pulp tale, it's a genre triumph at once scary, silly, and deceptively sly.

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Nick Schager

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