TV Movie of the Week: David Fincher’s Gone Girl is an amazingly glossy and very modern thriller

Gone Girl (2014) – Film Review

I missed this film in its original cinema run and subsequent DVD release but finally got round to it on TV on BBC1 (Friday, December 29, 2017) and what a provocative thriller this is.

Gone Girl starts on July 5. The morning of the fifth wedding anniversary of Nick and Amy Dunn’s wedding (played superbly by Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike).

Amy goes missing and Nick is called back home by a concerned neighbour who has spotted the front door wide open.

Things quickly escalate from there as the police are quickly involved begin to piece together a mass of clues starting with a coffee table smashed with signs of a struggle, a blood stain in the kitchen, and further forensic evidence in the fireplace.

As a suspect in the disappearance of his “complicated” wife, Nick is dragged through hell as the police investigation follows the pile of clues and the bewildered husband starts to come under suspicion himself when the media get involved and he proves to be an awkward, nervous presence in front of cameras.

It turns out that the cracks had started to show in their relationship before Amy’s disappearance and tensions build in the community as the story develops and the narratives change with every new piece of evidence uncovered.

All of this is played out against the background of Amy’s diary entries which are read out by Pike from Amy’s point of view as the stakes escalate in the full media glare thrown in for good measure. Just three short years later social media (hinted at in the film with the use of the internet) would have been all over this story.

We are shown the blurred lines between the characters, the exterior sheen of their picture-book marriage but also the simmering undercurrents beneath and the roles that Nick and Amy play out as the story unfolds.

Every good thriller has a twist and Gone Girl provides a massive one nestled in the middle of a plot full of them including clever adaptations made to her own novel by the author Gillian Flynn who also wrote the screenplay.

David Fincher turns the screw with time jumps, detective work, the media glare with hints at Rashomon-style he-said-she-said points of view and sexual politics, before diving in with a full-fat thriller ending just when you thought it was all over.

It’s certainly a glossy, and occasionally graphic, thriller which keeps a hold on your attention and the ending has a contentious twist, and one that arrives after two and a half hours have flown by in this stylishly shot and completely gripping tale.

Gone Girl (18; strong bloody violence, very strong language; 149 minutes)

Director(s): David Fincher

Cast Includes: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Scoot McNairy, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, Casey Wilson, Emily Ratajkowski, Missi Pyle, Sela Ward

Summary: GONE GIRL is a thriller, based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, about a man suspected in the disappearance of his wife.

Rating: ***** (A glossy and modern David Fincher thriller)

Gone Girl is available on BBC iPlayer for UK audiences for 30 days from Friday, December 29, 2017.