By Todd Perkins, Staff Movie Reviewer
Director David Fincher may be the finest filmmaker working today. With films such as “Se7en”, “Fight Club”, “Zodiac”, and “The Social Network” on his resume, he has already proven himself to be a perfectionist who deliberately plans every single detail within his films.
His last effort “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” was based on the best-selling novel by Stieg Larsson, and Fincher proved that he could stay true to an author’s voice while also preserving his own unique sense of style.
Now Fincher undergoes the same task with his latest film “Gone Girl”, which is an adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s extremely successful novel of the same name.
Here, Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike star as Nick and Amy Dunne, a married couple who might be experiencing some marital issues. Things take a dark mysterious turn when Nick discovers that Amy has gone missing and that their house shows signs of a possible disturbance.
Through the course of a desperate search for the missing Amy, all of the evidence starts to point towards Nick as the police and the media start turning their attention on the cold, allusive husband. Any more description of the plot would ruin all the fun to be had by experiencing this film firsthand.
First off, the casting is absolutely perfect. Affleck has been the subject of media discussion through his romantic relationships as well as his previous film flops, so his background as a celebrity helps place him as an actor within the chaos of this story. He has never been better as an actor as he plays a man who has to be both relatable to the audience, and yet, incredibly threatening.
Pike is a revelation in what has to be a star-making role for her. Rarely does an actress have a chance to play a character this interesting and mysterious, and Pike delivers on every level.
The supporting players are also incredibly well cast, with Kim Dickens and newcomer Carrie Coon both delivering excellent performances as an intelligent police officer and as Nick’s trusting sister.
However, the two most surprising actors in this film are the additions of Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry. Perry is perfect as Nick’s slick lawyer, and he has never been as likeable as he is here, while Harris does his best at playing a creepy former flame of Amy’s but never quite overcomes his own star persona.
While the performances are all brilliant, it is Fincher who is truly the star of the film. Every single shot is masterfully mapped out, with extreme care taken to make it a technically perfect work. The cinematography, production design, film editing, and score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, are all top notch and flawless.
Fincher takes pride and making films exactly the way he wants to, with every detail done the way he feels it should be done, and that painstaking attention shows.
Flynn wrote the screenplay herself and it is as intelligent and surprising as the novel. Both Flynn and Fincher stay one step ahead of their audience because they know what viewers have seen in other stories and what they expect will happen. The result is that “Gone Girl” is one of the smartest and clever films of the year, and Fincher has made another near-perfect film to add to his filmography.