You know those dreams. We all have them. Nothing scary has happened. If anything it’s mundane, you’re walking through the streets, your house, but still the nightmare feeling is ever present. The air is heavy, your body uneasy, almost sick. You so badly want to wake up, if only to feel something normal again.
This is the world of Gone Girl. David Fincher’s thriller tracks the waking nightmare of Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) as he attempts to unravel the ever-growing mystery of his missing wife Amy (Rosamund Pike). The world watches via news broadcasts and talk shows and scrutinize his every move, his identity instantaneously shifting from grieving husband to murder suspect. But this disappearance is anything but cut and dry and Nick’s journey will be anything but easy.
Fincher teamed up with long time collaborator Director of Photography Jeff Cronenweth once again to great visual success. The two have created the eerie worlds of Fight Club, the American take on Girl With a Dragon Tattoo series, and Social Network. This time they’ve outdone themselves, creating a sinister air that bites at Dunne. He appears alone, miniscule in a hazy world of gray. It is Amy who has disappeared but Nick that is shrinking away within the pressure of it all.
This film used each filmic device so brilliantly to promote the uneasiness of this horrible dreamlike reality. There is an incredible disembodied quality about the sound of voices, especially that of Amy. Voices echo out of the mouths of the characters, never quite feeling entirely grounded.
This punctuates an already ethereal performance of Rosamund Pike. She has a sinister charm, a coldness that intrigues, as though everything could shift in a moment. Without these nuanced qualities Affleck’s hazy performance would seem out of place. He is repressed. Like a man who is perpetually still halfway in a dream, not fully recovered from the shock of waking. Within the first minutes of the film a confused Nick is being interviewed by detectives. “Should I be worried?” he asks. He never seems to get very far past this stage, he is confused. This is all happening so fast. He never quite catches up to the realities of the situation, stumbling over each new discovery like a man unknowingly on a moving sidewalk.
Both character’s seem to have time traveled out of a Hitchcock film. Like in Vertigo, North By Northwest or The Wrong Man a situation exploits the characters faults either leading them into disaster or making them appear guilty, both are true for Nick. We never truly get to know Nick or Amy, for the drama of the search has taken over their personalities, not even they know who they are anymore.
The film is an exciting experience. Not just a mystery unraveling, but the journey of a character we have all at one time wondered about. Those poor saps on TV their loved one missing, but why are they smiling, or not smiling enough, they seem wooden, or faking or just plain untrustworthy. The families whose tragedies we devour like an episode of reality TV and comment upon like a soap opera. Their every gesture or flinch scrutinized. Gone Girl is a bold criticism of the media while never once feeling preachy or impersonal. We are forced to step back and wonder how each of us would look if suddenly in this situation. If your entire life was on display, would you too be a bad guy? Nick is not a perfect man, he is greatly flawed, but are those flaws worthy of lethal injection? Are yours?
His biggest flaw of all it seems, is being the type of guy who falls for Amy. But he is a cat lover, a characteristic that apply to more than just his pet preference.
Gone Girl is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Watch the trailer for Gone Girl here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTaeg-sGw9k