(US - 2014)
Directed by David Fincher. Written by Gillian Flynn. Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, Scoot McNairy, David Clennon, Lisa Banes, Emily Ratajkowski, Boyd Holbrook, Lola Kirke, Casey Wilson, Sela A. Ward, Missi Pyle, Jamie McShane. (R, 149 mins)
"You only hurt the one you love" is a saying that's appropriate for David Fincher's version of Gillian Flynn's bestselling 2012 novel. Flynn scripted the adaptation herself, but the end result is very much in line with Fincher's cynical worldview. Over the last 20 years, Fincher has built a reputation as an auteur's auteur, and comparisons to cinema giants like Stanley Kubrick have been made for quite some time. There's no doubt that some of those comparisons are justified, especially in Fincher's mercurial nature and his methodical, meticulous, and sometimes fussy style. He's been known to do an exorbitant amount of takes like Kubrick did, and both display signature styles to ensure their films feel like no one else's. This has been especially the case with Fincher over the last few years, as GONE GIRL marks his third consecutive teaming with score composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, and the fourth overall with Cronenweth, who also shot Fincher's FIGHT CLUB (1999). Over the course of THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010), THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011), and now GONE GIRL, Fincher and that team have forged a unique style in cold, clinical detachment, and perhaps that's where the Kubrick analogies really started to gain traction, though if any comparisons are to be made, he's more in line with the non-fantasy side of David Cronenberg.
Dissolve piece on GONE GIRL that it's the first Fincher film to put the impossibility of romantic relationships front and center. While GONE GIRL may form a loose stylistic trilogy with the two Fincher films that precede it, it's really not some thinkpiece-worthy truth bomb blowing the doors off the psychology of relationships, misogyny, feminism, and the state of marriage in America. Anyone who was a child of divorce, saw their parents have a huge argument, has gotten divorced or been around when married friends have a meltdown in a social setting or been in any kind of romantic relationship at all knows that marriage and relationships can be ugly. How many single people have had a married friend tell them "Don't ever get married"? There's certainly room for discussion over its conclusion and the decisions and compromises that certain characters make and the ways they manipulate those around them, but for the bulk of its sometimes bloated two and a half hours, GONE GIRL is a riveting, top-notch thriller by a director at the top of his game. Fincher isn't the second coming of Kubrick. He's a more stylized, high-end Alan J. Pakula or Sydney Pollack. And that's still pretty great.