David Fincher’s latest in a long line of tonally faithful adaptations takes new-found forms of good and evil in stride, as it plays host to the listless. Taken from one of 2013’s most celebrated novels, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl intimately explored a progressively complex system of deceptive narration and readership allegiance. Flynn’s self-adapted screenplay sees little revision despite the evident rift between the two mediums. Though Gone Girl’s first-person introspection may be lost in translation, much of it is made up for via Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy’s (Rosamund Pike) visual counterparts. Both deliver powerful performances, gradually bringing to light their increasingly caustic marital past in spite of their “sugar-storm” origins. Affleck’s seemingly simple portrayal of love lost to apathy widens and matures throughout, constantly forcing newer, richer audience assessments by adhering to a multitude of blatant, conversely rich spousal archetypes. However as the film’s opening line suggests, Pike’s fiercely dynamic performance as “Amazing Amy” finds itself on the opposite side of Affleck’s apathetic coin – flawed benevolence vs. perfection without empathy.[divider]+[/divider]
Fincher’s Gone Girl draws the majority of its power from dual perspectives. As such, audience loyalty consistently shifts from Nick to Amy, and back again, often blurring the lines of fault in the process.[divider]+[/divider]
Much like it’s source material, Fincher’s Gone Girl draws the majority of its power from dual perspectives. As such, audience loyalty consistently shifts from Nick to Amy, and back again, often blurring the lines of fault in the process. Reality and objective truth never quite find their way to an accepted station, and the term “lesser of two evils” becomes a less and less suitable maxim as the film progresses. Though a series of intermittent flashbacks occasionally aids in cementing a reliable timeline between the two, what’s left ambiguous is the motivation and subsequent emotional aftermath of the events displayed. Given more typical circumstances, however, much of Nick and Amy’s past requires little thought given to either area – simple cause, simple effect. Where Gone Girl differs in this respect is in its absolute, and undying capacity for manipulation and self-awareness. Role-play is at the heart of its social critique – the known difference between who we are and what we perform to others. What goes unseen is of little matter when emulation takes ideology for granted.
Misinformation and societal cynicism aside, Gone Girl inhabits the same melancholic, morally bereft universe in which Fincher excels in. Though composers Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor’s striking musical contribution once again makes its way into Fincher’s filmography, its the subtlety by which each scene plays its purpose that truly marks Gone Girl as a monument to tension. The lack of any obvious legend or audience guide through character or movement forces a perpetually cold state of paranoia that seems only to lift through validation. Vital transitions simply refuse to be overplayed, or even wholly played at all, granting a much more thoughtful, analytical approach to decoding Gone Girl’s multifaceted ambiguity. This abstention from total visualisation effectively mirrors Gone Girl’s own noncommittal posturing in way of moral judgement and personal integrity. Though Fincher may be suggesting that “ignorance is bliss” in regards to social construction, Gone Girl plainly looks beneath the facade and doesn’t care what it finds.