Monday, April 27, 2015

Movie Monday: Gone Girl

Gone Girl
When opportunity arises, I feature Movie Monday. I recognize few people have the time or desire to read the amount I do, especially when it comes to the 100 Best Novels list. Luckily, Hollywood loves adapting a classic and I love a good story in any form.

Film Title: Gone Girl
Book Title: Gone Girl
Release Year: 2014

Summary: Nick Dunne's wife, Amy, disappears on their fifth anniversary. All signs point to his involvement and some sort of foul play. There is more going on, however, than what appears on the surface and Nick has to figure it out before the police do.

What I Thought: If you've been around the blog long, you know I've spoken highly of this book. It's absolutely not for everyone. I told my own mother to skip it. It's gritty and dark to an extreme. It's like watching Breaking Bad - you walk away feeling dirty (at least that's what Kevin says. I have yet to jump on that particular train). 

We were both psyched for the movie pretty much as soon as we closed the cover of the book. We both have read all three of Flynn's novels (Gone Girl is the cheeriest of the bunch, if you can believe that). We had tentatively planned on seeing it in theatres, an honor we Netflix loyalists bestow on few movies. After being told the film contained excessive sexual content, we opted to hold out for the Blu-ray. After all, you can always fast forward at home, a luxury not afforded in a cinema setting.

So, here we are, months after the film actually came out. I feel so delinquent in sharing my thoughts.

First and foremost, I have to say I was so impressed by the cinematography. It was really beautifully done. The opening segment was gorgeous. Anyone who can make small-town Missouri look that beautiful on screen deserved an award of some kind.

Kevin complained that the film had a weird flow, but I did not necessarily think that. I did, however, find Amy to be not nearly likeable enough. She needed more appeal right from the beginning. Her lines were right, but her voice, tone, and attitude felt off to me. She's supposed to be this charismatic all-American girl, but I could feel the hint of her darkness even in the beginning. That being said, the movie made me wonder if they were banking on so many of their viewers having already read the book. The big twist (you know what I'm talking about) is such a shocking moment in the book and it did not pack the same punch on screen.

In that vein, I thought they did a wonderful job of making everyone seem duplicitous. Amy, Nick, her parents...everyone seems sketchy. I love that! However, they did it too early. Both Amy and her parents needed to build more trust to make their failings more powerful when they come.

The film did do a wonderful job of showing how easily Nick gets sucked into looking like a bad guy. Amy sets him up so well and it played perfectly on screen. Ben Affleck really did a great job showing the frustration, confusion, and even fear. 

As for all the sexual content, it was there for sure. Both the book and the movie are gritty. This is a very grown up, twisted story about how terrible people are, even when things look pretty on the outside. As I mentioned when I reviewed the book way back when, Amy and Nick are two of the most self-absorbed, narcissistic characters I have ever encountered. I did feel like the graphic scenes tended to be pretty quick and you could easily turn away if you wanted. Again, this is made a lot easier when you're at home in your living room and can get up to get popcorn or turn and talk to your spouse during those moments.

I have to say, this movie is extremely dark (you can't expect any less), but I thought they did a great job capturing the horrible spirit of the book. I'm anxious to see how the new mini-series of Flynn's other novel, Dark Places, plays out. I'm putting the trailer her for your viewing convenience. Our only thought so far is that Charlize Theron is way too pretty to be Libby.

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Watch: Possibly.

A Reduced Review: Extraordinary performances by the cast push this adaptation up several levels. It remains just as gritty, dark, and emotionally horrifying as the book. 

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