Film Review: High-Level Acting, Broad Themes in ‘Gone Girl’

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CHICAGO – How can a sudsy, Lifetime TV Movie-type plot capture the resonance of our current information age? By twisting it by the ears and having gutsy, high-level performances. “Gone Girl” is a marvelous invention of media satire, celebrity culture and the perfect casting of Ben Affleck.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Taken from the popular novel by Gillian Flynn – who also does the screenplay adaptation – and directed by the enigmatic David Fincher, “Gone Girl” revels in its mysteries and belief systems. While pulling us in with a “wife flight” story that could be at home on a soap opera, it creates commentary on society and media culture. If those cultural images seem familiar in the story, it’s because the reflection from the screen is in our own image. The casting is precise and in many way glorious, especially Affleck, Rosamund Pike and two minor but important portrayals of TV show hosts, portrayed with an extreme bravado by the underrated Sela Ward and Missi Pyle. Admirers of the novel will certainly see the film for the familiar plot, but will end up noticing the implications of the overall story.

Affleck portrays Nick Dunne, a writer and bar owner in his small Missouri hometown, who has moved back there from New York City with his wife Amy (Pike). Amy had drifted a bit in life, she is a trust fund baby from a series of children’s novels her mother wrote based on her life – “Amazing Amy” – and is experiencing a dissolution of her marriage.

Nick comes home one morning to find his home in disarray and Amy missing. The evidence is spotty, but keeps pointing towards a suspicion that Nick has something to do with the disappearance, and it explodes in the media. Detective Rhonda (Kim Dickens) and Officer Jim (Patrick Fugit) work to unravel the case, while Nick’s twin sister Margo (Carrie Coon) consoles her brother, and famous lawyer Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry) counsels the accused.

“Gone Girl” opens everywhere on October 3rd. Featuring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Patrick Fugit, Kim Dickens, Carrie Coon and Lisa Banes. Screenplay adapted by Gillian Flynn, from her novel. Directed by David Fincher. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Gone Girl”

Rosamund Pike, Ben Affleck
Amy (Rosamund Pike) and Nick (Ben Affleck) in ‘Gone Girl’
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Gone Girl”

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