I have read the book 'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flynn so I was a little nervous about how the film would be to watch. You know what its like, sometimes the film is better, sometimes it misses huge chunks out, and sometimes its just dire. This being a psychological drama or a thriller if you prefer, it could easily have missed the mark.
I am delighted to say 'Gone Girl' the film is loyal to the book, but actually it surpasses it. It packs some punch with its stars - Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, but again, that doesn't necessarily guarantee success.
So lets get to the plot - SPOILER ALERT!! Don't read any further if you don't want to know what happens!
We begin with the Anniversary. Nick Dunne (Affleck) and his wife Amy (Pike) are due to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. Nick returns home that day to find his house turned upside down and no sign of his wife.
It transpires that his wife is kind of a celebrity. She is "Amazing Amy" or rather the inspiration behind the series of books her parents wrote when she was younger. As a result, the press are soon interested in her disappearance.
Nick can at best be described as closed off, and his behaviour leads to speculation that he is involved in Amy's disappearance as she is declared missing. The films shows flashbacks to Amy and Nick when they met, and how their marriage was in trouble in recent times.
Nick and Amy had both found themselves out of work, and glimpses into their private lives showed they were under financial strain. Nick had lost his mum, his dad was suffering dementure, and Amy's parents had borrowed her trust fund money back from her.
They had moved back to his home time in Missouri from her native New York and their troubles only worsen, with a huge distance growing between them.
Nick and his twin sister Margot - "Go" try to work out how to proceed. Amy has framed him and he needs to convince the police of his innocence. Unfortunately her Anniversary treasure hunt clues further tighten the noose around his neck, leading the police to suspect his motives.
Amy has done her homework. She has laid an elaborate trail. She got to befriend neighbours without his knowledge, faked a pregnancy (hers) and the best part - writing a mythical journal to nail the coffin.
Nick has no choice but to hire a lawyer. He chooses a famous one - Tanner Bolt who is renowned for taking on cases of wife killers! Nick manages to find out that Amy has a history of making false accusations by tracking down some of her exes whom she claimed to have harassed or stalked her.
Unfortunately for Nick, he has been having an affair and this unsavory detail when it becomes known does little to help his situation. Detective Boney shows Nick has the set up in his house was staged, and how she thinks Nick is behind Amy's disappearance. Its not looking good for Nick.
Amy meanwhile has changed her appearance and is holed up in a remote campground. She watches Nick being accused on TV with great delight. She had planned to kill herself, but decides not to when she is robbed by her neighbours.
Leaving her with no money, she makes contact with her ex, Desi. Nick has already spoken to Desi, so he already knows that Nick is suspicious about Amy. He has always been madly in love with her though, so he agrees to help her.
Desi's obsession with Amy sees her being held captive in his lake house. Its fully equipped with CCTV so she has no choice but to stay there.
Nick appears on TV in the aftermath of his mistress revealing their affair, to show that he is remorseful and to tell Amy how much he misses her and wants her back. He doesn't mean this of course, but he knows its the only way to appeal to Amy. It works - Amy watches him, and determines to return home to him.
Amy, devious as ever, damages herself internally and uses the CCTV to show her hammering at the door looking beaten and attacked. Finally, she tempts Desi to her bed where she slits his throat. She escapes, and finds her way back home covered in blood. She continues to lie claiming, successfully, that Desi had kept her captive at the Lake House and abused her until she managed to escape by killing him.
Nick does not want to be with Amy, but she leaves him little choice. She set him up so well with the journal, and the credit card bills and the disappearance etc.. and he can't trust her. He tells this to Detective Boney, to Tanner Bolt and to his sister Go, and that although he knows she set him up, he can't prove it.
Amy wasn't pregnant, but now she is. She used his sperm from when they were discussing having a child year's before and has artificially inseminated herself. Nick doesn't want to stay married to her, but now there is a child he gives in. His sister pleads with him not to stay, but he does.
The reunited Amy and Nick announce to the world that they are expecting a child. Amazing Amy - devious, cold and calculating, always gets what she wants.
Even knowing what was going to happen because it was so close to the book plot, I was still shocked by the brutally calculating Amy in this film. Rosamund Pike is so chilling, and so brilliant here. Equally, Ben Affleck is at his best in this. Perfectly portraying Nick Dunne as distant and inappropriate, the disloyal and understandably so husband.
Superb story, superb cast and fantastic film. Absolute top score for this one - 10 out of 10. Cannot fault it at all.
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