Over the years, having seen many thrillers, I’ve stumbled upon a rule of thumb which I follow for all thrillers. A thriller must be full of tact. It has to give just enough information so that the audience thinks they know what the story is but the audience must be kept in a maze regarding the plot.
It’s been two weeks since I saw Gone Girl, and I’m still not sure I know what the story really was. It’s been seven months since is aw Brick and sometimes I still wonder what was really going on.
Gone Girl is a story driven thriller, as opposed to the usual loud action thrillers like Mission Impossible, the recent Equalizer. It’s a rarity and a treat to watch a movie like Gone Girl. After a 150 minute runtime, I couldn’t help but tell people about how amazing the movie is for the next day.
The story is simple and straight-forward. Nick Dune’s (Ben Affleck) wife, Amy Elliot Dune (Rosemund Pike), the popular Amazing Amy has disappeared on the day of their fifth anniversary.
For the first half, the narrative constantly shifts focus between the quest to find Amy and the past that is chronicled in Amy’s diary. Their lives, how they met, the recession, the fights, the physical abuse. Then, about halfway, Nick is accused of murdering his wife and the narrative shifts focus between the Nick and his not so dead wife, Amy having the time of her life having trapped her husband in a prison as punishment for the damage he caused her(as she believes).
Slowly, slowly, Dunn’s life consists only if the case regarding his wife and Amy’s life of feeding on the misery of her husband. Dunn, accused of being a sociopath because of his lack of empathy and having incestuous relations with his twin sister, Margo (Carrie Coon), his pillar of support during the whole trial. Also, helping him prove his innocence his Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry), famous attorney specialising in cases like the one Nick is in. The movie encompasses him elevating from being a nobody and then his tarnishing reputation as an incestuous, unfaithful and wife killing man.
Those still reading the book or yet to catch the movie might want to skip the next paragraph.
Amy’s side consists of her thorough enjoyment of her husband’s plight. She proved herself to be pregnant, physically abused, threatened and eventually killed. All written too easily in the diary she planted as fake evidence for the police. All too convenient for a deranged, psychotic, evil fucked up bitch like her. All in all, she is one of the most cunning, vile, hateful but respectful characters I have seen in a movie.
Affleck remains true to his mantra of being consistent, and so were Coona and Perry, giving solid performances. But the show stealer was Rosemund Pike. Who pulled off all shades of her character effortlessly. Be it her true persona or the helpless pregnant woman. Both parts poles apart, both pulled off without a hitch. Obviously, a shoe in for the Academy for Best Actress. I had nothing but grudging respect for Amy and normal non-hateful respect for Pike.
Like every story driven thriller, be it Gone Baby Gone, Brick, Rear Window, the atmosphere plays a vital role in making the audience feel uneasy and at edge. The music, composed of what I believe electronic noises made various parts of the movie unnerving. It broke all illusions one could have of things being normal in the movie.
But again, an implication of the rule of thumb, a good thriller is only as good as the director makes it to be. Not for the placement of music or making the actors perform their best, but for pacing it. And keep you wondering and confused as to what the hell is actually going on.
Though not a very keen watcher of thrillers, Gone Girl beats out some of my favourite thrillers such as MI: 4, Brick, Oceans 11/12 as the best thriller I have ever seen. A polished, well made and chilling thriller. One of the best films of 2014.