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GONE GIRL (review)

Review by B.S. Walker
Produced by Leslie Dixon, Bruna Papandrea, 
Reese Witherspoon, Ceán Chaffin
Screenplay by Gillian Flynn
Based on Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Directed by David Fincher
Starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, 
Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, 
Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit

Dreading his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and his “villainous” chin return home to find the front door strangely ajar, coffee table smashed, and his lovely, disenchanted wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) missing.

And while Nick, the prime suspect in his wife’s disappearance, may not have to worry about what to get her for a present anymore, director David Fincher and novelist/screenwriter Gillian Flynn have given us something surprisingly wooden.

Don’t get me wrong, Gone Girl is a solid, entertaining mystery/thriller/dark comedy that makes short work of its two and a half hour running time. But through it all, I found myself nagged by the distinct feeling that a GREAT movie was lurking just beneath the one I was watching. Patiently waiting for it to breach the surface.

Never quite making it.

I love the idea of a toxic marriage dialed up to 11. A storybook life imagined in the big city, destroyed by an abrupt move to the suburbs and crippled by a recession. Not that Nick and Amy’s relationship wouldn’t have imploded all on its own, eventually…since they’re both assholes of varying degrees. And in a way, made for each other. Though I never quite felt like I knew enough about either to truly care, which may have been Fincher’s intent — but ultimately left me detached from the proceedings.

Thankfully, Fincher has assembled a top-notch, highly watchable cast that manages to milk every last drop out of their characters. With the ladies ultimately taking the cake…

The talented Rosamund Pike (The World’s End) has a field day with the “she said” half of the unreliable narration. While Carrie Coons (The Leftovers) and the always-reliable Kim Dickens (Deadwood) virtually steal the show as Margo, Nick’s unwaveringly loyal, nerdy hot twin sister, and the detective heading up the investigation, respectively. They’re both so good in fact, most of me wishes the story was told from their points of view.

And I’m sure I won’t be the only one demanding a spin-off television series: ”BONEY.”

Oh, and special shout-outs to Tyler Perry for NOT sucking as Nick’s Johnny Cochran-esque defense attorney. And Scoot McNairy (Argo) in a throwaway cameo so well played that I STILL want to give him a hug and tell him everything’s going to be okay.

Wish I could say the same for Nick and Amy.

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