Screen Review: Gone Girl

Words by Elizabeth Pollard


Any book adapted for the screen is sure to come under some heavy scrutiny by it’s fans. Gone Girl, the best selling novel by Gillian Flynn, was no exception, but as one of the lucky few who didn’t read the book first, I was able to enjoy David Fincher’s adaptation as a truly fantastic thriller.

Having only a vague idea of what the plot was about, I was extremely shocked and disappointed that a story with such absurd stereotypes made it onto the bestseller list; especially with women. As a feminist (and a woman), this story is everything that’s wrong with society’s old fashioned view of the emotional and oppressive nature of women.

(In case you aren’t one of the millions of people that read the book) The story is of a girl called Amy Dunne; beautiful, intelligent and dark. When she meets her future husband Nick at a party, they soon engage in a blissful romance. In the height of the credit crash Nick loses his job, their financial situation spirals out of control, at which point Nick’s mother contracts breast cancer and they move back to his hometown in Missouri to be with her. Their relationship becomes stale and loveless; the question of starting a family creates friction between the couple and Nick loses interest in his beautiful wife and starts an 18 month affair with a young college student he teaches creative writing to. Upon finding out, Amy plots her revenge and decides to frame her husband for her murder. However, Amy is no stranger to framing ex-lovers and to plot her return, murders a former boyfriend to be made to look like she was kidnapped, raped and abused. On returning back to Nick, she manipulates him into staying with her by stealing his sperm and impregnating herself.

Flynn creates the character, Amy Dunne, out of an extreme female stereotype from a misogynistic male perspective; pisses her husband off for being too perfect, can’t support him financially, begs for a child, plots elaborate revenge because she’s a bored housewife, manipulates him to stay with her and steals his sperm. It’s a wonder men even bother these days! Yes, her husband is a cheat, but in the end is made to be felt sorry for as he couldn’t compete with his perfect polyana wife. Nick is portrayed as a poor, helpless creature that has no control of his dick and she is a manipulative psychopath. (Although I have since been told the film’s portrayal of Nick was softened quite a lot to create a victim.)

On the whole though, Fincher’s film was wonderfully produced and was cinematically believable. A combination of awkward casting for the supporting roles and a poorly written screenplay resulted in the audience erupting in laughter more than a few times; I’m not exactly sure this is the response they were going for. Both Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck started off in their characteristically wooden style but as the story developed, so seemingly, did the characters. Pike was particularly brilliant in the final half of the film, finding depth in her character which was demonstrated through immaculate movement.

Whether a fan of the book, David Fincher or just want a worthwhile trip to the cinema this autumn, Gone Girl is an absolute must.

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