I'm not sure if I'm becoming over-critical or if my expectations were too high for this film, but I really wanted to like it a whole lot more than I did. Gone Girl follows the story of both Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike). Nick, narrating from the present day, arrives home one morning to find that his wife, Amy, is missing. Normally he wouldn't worry, but when he discovers an open front door, specks of blood on the kitchen wall, and a destroyed living room, he worries. Amy, narrating from the past, tells the story of their marriage. She explains all of the good deeds he's done for her, the troubles they've been through, and the abuse she's received, giving us a clue as to what really went down in the present.
As I just stated, I really wanted to like this film a lot more than I did. The film had everything going for it. It was adapting a famous book, a book that I can't give higher praise for, it was directed by David Fincher, the trailers were fantastic, and it's got an a-list cast. While I don't want to be quoted as not enjoying the film, as a matter of fact I really enjoyed it, but the best word to describe it would be underwhelming. It's stylishly directed, perfectly cast, outstandingly well written and graciously shot, but it's never really as suspenseful, nor shocking as it wants to be. The thrills are there, a scene in the third act being incredibly thrilling and gut-wrenching to watch, but never as much as you'd hope. Gone Girl hits all the right beats, but never uses these beats as well as it could.
Rosamund Pike gives one of her best performance to date, Affleck almost giving his. Pike's portrayal of Amy in this movie is ringing with the sound of Oscars. She has never been better, giving us a performance so dedicated and realistic that it constantly appears too good to be true. While Affleck is great as Nick, he just isn't as amazing as Amazing Amy herself. Sorry Bats. The strangest and most shocking thing about this film is Tyler Perry. He gives a good performance in this movie. No, it's more than good. He actually gives a legitimately great performance. This film has shown the world that if he leaves behind Madea, he's actually a decent actor. I don't think anyone could have seen that coming.
The film tries too hard to be just like the book that it can't always stand on its own. The film is too loyal at times, trying to add in everything the book has to offer. While the screenplay by Gone Girl author, Gillian Flynn, is far from a failure, it's far from perfect too. It never ends up reaching the delirious heights set by the novel, but that shouldn't really be too big a critique to make. The book ends each perspective off with some sort of a cliffhanger, ensuring that the reader, like myself, comes back to read on. The film makes an attempt at doing the same, but always feels like its forcing the cliffhangers in, making most of them come as not too big a shock. Gone Girl is not predictable, but its shock value is absent. It pulls plenty of twists and turns, but none are handled in such a way that they come as a major surprise.
The cast and crew, including Fincher and Affleck, came out and stated that because of how much hate the book's ending received they will be changing it. This is not true. I wasn't the biggest fan of the book's finale, and unfortunately am not the biggest fan of the film's either. While its handled in the film in a more mature and watchable way, unlike the book which consisted of ten to fifteen pages of frustration, it's still not too pleasing an ending. The film stumbles more than a few times, ending on a note that's not only depressing and out of character, but not in any way fun to watch. The rest of the film was fun. It was a lot of fun. David Fincher, once again, has made crime look fun, but not even he can handle the film's ending.
To sum up, Gone Girl's got plenty of stylish direction, brilliant writing, gut-wrenching to watch moments and dedicated performances that are ringing with the sound of Oscars, but it's too loyal to the book and features a dissatisfying finale.