Gone Girl

GoneEvery year a group of us play the Oscar game. Its a pooled money event, the person predicting the highest percentage  Oscar winners takes the pool. When the Academy releases their noms, its usually a month long race to see just how many of the films we can see before the awards ceremony.

The stop watch started last week so now I’m off and running before 22 Feb deadline. There’s more incentive this year since our group grew and the pool is now at an even $1,000.

Starting off the ‘didn’t see yet’ batch, Gone Girl, which is included in the Best Actress category.  I was very surprised by this film, it was not at all what I expected. I’d characterize it mostly as suspense and mystery but its also a deeply satirical comment on media-frenzy and the sometimes destructive nature of relationships. I think the transitions between the mystery and the satire were what caught many off guard, myself included, but after I figured it out, I absolutely loved the combination.

To story of a smart. well-heeled girl marrying a humble mid-western boy, both writers in NYC runs horribly off the road to happiness when they relocate back to his hometown in Missouri. You are lead to believe this is just a Lifetime episode of a love falling apart. But then she disappears. Not without clues however, which are conveniently and eerily marked in envelopes entitled ‘Clue 1’, ‘Clue2’ , etc.  The local police get involved with the disappearance, somewhat suspecting him, but still investigating other possibilities. That’s when things get strange. And by that I mean, you, the viewer, will be lead down several plausible roads explaining the motive of her disappearance.  Did he kill her and hide the body? Did she leave and doesn’t want to be found? Is he being framed by a jealous ex-lover? Is she really who says she is, or for that matter, is he? Both seem to be scheming but why?

Seeing how this unfolds is the beauty of the film, so I won’t say anymore about the plot.

Acting from him (Ben Affleck) and her (Rosamund Pike) is good but Pike totally owns this film, completely obliterating the rest of the cast and solidifying what could have been a wandering, mediocre production. Her character has been compared to that of Sharon Stone’s in Basic Instinct. I get the comparison, both characters have complex personalities and both are painted as highly intelligent and elaborate schemers. However, Stone’s method in Basic Instinct was more sex-appeal and shock-n-awe, Pike’s is more an intricate unveiling of a woman with many hidden personality traits constantly wrapped up in a media-consumable package for external view. Pike is flawlessly convincing when revealing her character’s traits and her motivations for what happens throughout.

I can’t yet say whether I cast my vote for Pike as Best Actress but shes a strong runner. In the end this film is a good watch for mystery-lovers, paparazzi-haters and anyone who has lived through a relationship ‘caveat emptor’.





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