Gone girl is a 2014 film directed by David Fincher, who also directed Se7en (1995) and Fight club (1999), just to name just a couple of his movies. The protagonists are Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike and the film is a thriller with a fairly complex plot that I will explore below. This is one of those reviews where I can’t avoid spoilers to talk about the movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, maybe you better come back here after doing so. Let’s start.
Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) returns home one morning after a long chat with his sister Margo (Carrie Coon) to find out that his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) has disappeared. Not at all upset, he calls the police and cooperates with detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) to discover the truth. Soon it becomes clear that the Dunne marriage was in crisis: Nick wanted to divorce her and for over a year he had an extra-marital relationship with the young Andie (Emily Ratajkowski). Despite this, Nick spends himself in a media campaign in search of the missing Amy, who in her youth had been a very famous child whose image had been properly exploited by her parents. For almost an hour we follow the detective and Nick who clearly has something to hide, even though he’s probably not responsible for the disappearance of his wife. And then…
Then Fincher decides to tell us exactly what happened. The story is told to us by Amy herself without any filter. From victim she turns out to be an executioner, being basically a crazy psychopath who lives a false life in which she builds stories and ruins the lives of the unfortunate one who happen to have relationships with her. She thought out all the details of how to stage her kidnapping / murder in order to frame her husband and have him sentenced to death. So by now it’s not clear where the story is going… and here it comes: Amy loses all her money to a couple of goons in a hotel and then starts with plan B. Plan B is to go to his rich ex-boyfriend Desi Collins (Neil Patrick Harris), stage his abduction, kill him, get out with a clean record and go back to Nick to have a son with him through artificial insemination.
If at this moment you have lost the thread, don’t worry, you’re not alone: this super complicated story doesn’t work at all. In particular, even if Amy’s original plan could be credible, this second improvised part has more holes than a gruyere cheese. In fact, she meets Collins several days after her disappearance, something proven by the security cameras of the mansion of the guy himself. And even if she had tampered with the recordings, how did she do it so that she looked like a prisoner for weeks when she wasn’t? Did she just leave the scene where he seems to have raped her and nothing else? And doesn’t he have any alibi proving that he couldn’t have kidnapped her when she disappeared? Let’s face it: at the end of the film I was thinking that Gone girl was crap (a sensation similar to the one I felt at the end of another Fincher movie, The game, 1997). It’s a thriller in which everything is revealed almost immediately and where the plot doesn’t work! But…
There’s a “but”. What if this film was in fact brilliant? From the beginning of the movie, the media play a fundamental role in history. Amy as a child was a media phenomenon known to millions of people. Her disappearance is publicized a lot on television and through events in which hundreds of people volunteer to help. The suspects on Nick pass through a carousel of interviews and debates (and here the best character of the movie is introduced, the lawyer Tanner Bolt played by Tyler Perry), then revived by Amy’s return. In all this, it’s clear that the media decide right away that Nick killed his wife, and when Amy returns the media decide that she’s a surviving heroine and that the couple they formed will come out of this story stronger than before. And this is what happens, despite the facts clearly indicating that Amy is a mentally disturbed murderer who first tried to incriminate her husband for something he hadn’t done and then killed a man who only wanted to help her in cold blood!
So the whole movie could be an acute social critique of the role of the media and celebrity who impose themselves over the truth, almost a movie about fake news before fake news started to be a thing. Was this Fincher’s intention? Or am I reading too much in a movie whose screenplay is, apparently, terrible? Is Gone girl crap or brilliant? Ciao!
PS: did I mention that Trent Reznor’s soundtrack is amazing?