Film Review: “Gone Girl” (2015)

gone-girl-600x600This review will be somewhat different than usual in that I cannot divulge much if anything about the intricate, convoluted plot without risking spoilers.

So I will say that the plot is exceptionally intelligent and imaginative and brought to the screen quite accurately from the book of the same name by Gillian Flynn, (who wrote the screenplay). So imaginative I think, that this writer mush have had some personal experience in this kind of story line. It’s difficult to conceive of an individual dreaming up something this labyrinthine. That gives you an idea of how this plot goes.

Several things do stand out:

  1. A very interesting and very scary view of relationships, the giddy, hormonal beginnings followed by waking and smelling the coffee years later. The soft underbelly of the most superficially shining relationships that could be any one of us.
  1. This film lays out a very accurate picture of how tiny bits of otherwise meaningless information congeal together to form a coherent plot (sort of a media version of “Zero Dark Thirty”) expertly guided by the impeccably evil tabloid media. The film accurately mocks Nancy Grace, but made her more or a caricature than the truly evil queen bee of all things tabloid she is.
  1. It also reaffirms the age old advice of every attorney I have ever known and even, truth be told, most cops, that anyone under even the slightest suspicion of anything must never, NEVER answer any questions from a police officer without an experienced defense attorney by their side.
  1. Rosamund Pike as Amy is exceptionally good in this role and very believable. An excellent performance. Ben Affleck serviceable but not quite up to Pike.

Some shortcomings:

  1. Like most films today, it’s too long, straining the audience’s ability to follow the plot for the full length. Two and a half hours of this intricate plot is a long sit-through. The book was 400 pages.
  1. They work the tabloid press angle to a bit of an extreme, washing half the film in satellite dish-carrying local news trucks parked outside everyone’s house, swarms of screaming, microphone-carrying drones pushing and shoving to demand statements.

The audience is left with the uneasy feeling that the tabloid media depicted in the film totally controls all the outcomes and even our own reality. Not the “real” truth but its perspective. All that matters is how it’s portrayed on a screen

That’s the argument made with Gone Girl, and it’s done very convincingly.

David Crippen, MD, FCCM.

 

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