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"The screen is a magic medium. It has such power that it can retain interest as it conveys emotions and moods that no other art form can hope to tackle." Stanley Kubrick

Gone Girl: Mystery, Thriller, and Satire

Gone Girl is one of my favorite David Fincher movies, and that’s saying a lot. Fincher has given us some of the greatest films of recent memory with a track record that includes Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac, and The Social Network. This film is masterfully directed and shot, but that is something you can say about all his films. Fincher’s directing style is very persistent and meticulous. He is not afraid to do 100 takes on a given scene to make sure it is exactly right. He mentioned in an interview for Gone Girl that he shot a total of 500 hours of film for the movie!! However, there is something about Gone Girl that really sticks with me and gets under my skin. Even more so than the other movies. When it ends, I am just left staring at the screen as the credits roll. What I like most about it, is how it is structured. It is split into three parts: mystery, thriller, and satire. This gives the film a unique feeling to it and something that intrigues the viewer from beginning to end. If you have not seen the movie then be aware, because I will be discussing in-depth details about the film.

*SPOILERS*

First Part of Film: Mystery

The first part of this film is all about the disappearance of Amy Dunne. We get a first-person perspective of Ben Affleck’s character, Nick Dunne, who plays her husband. There are a lot of questions left in the open right away. Amy is missing and we are left wondering who kidnapped her, or if the whole thing was staged. Also if Nick is telling the truth or not. As the story progresses, it seems more and more obvious that it was Nick Dunne who staged it. Nick seems uninterested and very sleazy at times. We only see Amy in flashbacks and hear her thoughts as she writes in her journal leading up to the “kidnapping.” In this first part, we actually really start to sympathize with Amy’s character and start to hate Nick’s character.

This first part is so intriguing, because watching it the first time, you are totally oblivious to what is going on, but you keep finding out more and more things that are incredibly important to the story later. We find out more and more about these complex characters, and we are left wondering what actually happened. It isn’t until about an hour into the movie until we really find out who the mastermind behind all of this is. It’s Amy!

Second Part of Film: Thriller

The quote by Amy “I am so much happier now that I am dead” is what kicks off this next part. The big twist has been revealed, and now Amy becomes the main character. In this second part, we find out just how diabolical and manipulative she is. She’s very smart and persistent and leaves nothing to chance. Everything that we have pondered and debated in our minds are off the table. We know what happened, so now it is a matter of how it will turn out. The big mystery has been solved, and we still have an hour and a half left!

This next part is all about how Nick and Amy deal with the aftermath of the staged kidnapping. Nick is trying to clear his name off any assumptions that he was involved and maybe even murdered his wife. His encounters with his lawyer, played wonderfully by Tyler Perry, are very intriguing to watch. It is thrilling to view how Nick tries to get out of this huge jam that his wife has put him in, and it’s just thrilling to see what Amy will do next. She is very unpredictable and is very intriguing to watch on-screen. She is one of the best villains I have ever seen, and is portrayed brilliantly by Rosamund Pike. All we can do as viewers is just watch how all this plays out.

There are some very memorable scenes in this part of the film. A lot of twists and turns throughout, just like the last part, but there is one scene more memorable than any other. That is the murder on the bed. Anyone who has seen this probably knows exactly what I am talking about. Amy is now living with an obsessive ex lover after she gets robbed and loses all her money. After watching an interview with Nick on the news, she gets torn and decides she wants him back. The events that take place afterwards, and how she gets out of her current situation are very disturbing, but very memorable. They are extremely thrilling to watch. The scene on the bed is very reminiscent to the ending of Se7en. It is just so out of left field, and completely changes everything. The score is also incredible during this scene. It is parallel with everything that is going on, and gets louder and louder, just as the scene gets bloodier and bloodier. Just when you thought Amy couldn’t do anything worse, she does this! This leads us into the third and final part.

Third Part of Film: Satire

I like to think of the last 25 minutes of this movie as a satire. It is a satire on the media. This whole movie really gives us a perspective on how the media can view things, and how people just accept how things turn out based on what they see or read on the news/internet.

At this point, we know just how crazy and diabolical Amy is, but everyone else just accepts everything she is saying. They think she is sweet and innocent, and feel very bad for her. Nick and Amy act like an optimistic, loving couple that have been through a traumatic event in their lives, in public. In their home they are the complete opposite, and the dysfunction continues. Satire is used throughout whenever they show what is on TV. What the people are saying on the news is not true at all! It is very humorous just how Amy behaves in this last part. Everything she is saying is complete bullshit.

The way this film ends is so unsettling, but really leaves a lasting impact. The fact that Nick decides to stay with Amy, even after all the horrible things she has done, is really painful to watch. This films does not at all end how most people might want it to end, but just goes to show that and there are most likely events and big media stories that have been falsely publicized, just like this one. This is an important film, and one that is extremely relevant today. What are these characters going to do next, and now that there is a kid involved, what will happen with the kid? That is what we are left wondering, and the last shot of this film, showing Amy’s face, is very creepy and discouraging. We know that she has got away with murder, and has not been punished for all the horrible things she has done. It’s a perfect end to a nearly perfect film. Bravo Mr. Fincher, you have given us another modern-day masterpiece.

2 Comments

  1. Liam

    Really good and detailed review. For me personally, ‘Gone Girl’ didn’t blow me away. I thought it was a decent film with a very good twist. However, I like your reading of it as a satire as I didn’t really notice this. It’s got me thinking. I may revisit the film.

    Reply
  2. Zachary Doiron

    Gone Girl has got to be one of my favourite film in recent years! It was so good! Rosamund Pike was terrific as Amy. I did like the fact that Fincher used this story as a way to comment on the media. Great review!

    Reply

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