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06 October 2014

Gone Girl (Film Review)

RATING: 3.5/5
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Reviewed by Roghadal Saint-Michel (Toronto, Canada)

Warning: This review contains some spoilers

“Gone Girl” can be interpreted in many ways. Most people would carelessly pass judgment on a private affair. When outsiders try to put their two cents on the "truth" that is presented to them, the public has a field day taking sides, determining who is good or who is bad.

However, the duality of both the lead characters is the most fascinating about the film. Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) and Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) are both highly successful professionals. On the surface, they have a perfect marriage. The story is told in multiple flashbacks. We are taken into a roller coaster ride on the truth behind the disappearance of Amy, and subsequently, Nick becomes the primary suspect.  David Fincher, who also directed “Se7en,” slowly scratches the surface of a decaying relationship. As the truth is slowly being uncovered, viewers may find themselves constantly switching sides.

Relationships are usually best dissected from the outside. Usually when you are in a thick of it, everything becomes too common so that when a trivial question about each other is asked, the possibility of not knowing the answer is very high. There is a common quiz played between two people in a relationship. Partners are supposed to know much about each other. It would seem to be a travesty to fail a simple quiz. However, even in private, the game becomes embarrassing if you do not know the answer. Is this the gauge to measure a healthy relationship?

When does a passionate courtship end up in a boring marriage? When reality sets in and the honeymoon is over, at what point do we really give up on each other or cling on for better or for worse? How and when does infidelity start in marriages? These are the questions posed behind this well crafted thriller. Nevertheless, the film could have been better. Personally, it could have been more thought provoking if the film had not been cut-and-dried, and if determining who was at fault had been more ambivalent.

I am not sure if the icy depiction of Amy by Rosamund Pike is at fault or her character was written as a crazy manipulative wife or a stereotypical Shakespearean “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” protagonist. I just wish Amy were ambivalent so that I would feel more sympathetic to her and less to Nick. Glenn Close brilliantly accomplished this in “Fatal Attraction,” declaring, “I will not be ignored.” Audience members related to her and rooted for her to get back at the married guy whom she has fallen in love.

Perhaps, Ben Affleck’s performance made Nick more likeable. I want an earthier and more dastardly Nick. Yes, his character is not a saint but Affleck’s boy-next-door demeanor is too beautiful to be considered creepy.

These characters are far from perfect. Both have faults.  I am sure you will come out of the cinema having at least one opinion about Nick and Amy.

OTHER REVIEWS by Roghadal Saint-Michel
Stranger by the Lake
Mula sa Kung Saan Ang Noon

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