When it comes to directing a good mystery, there are few in the business with as fine credentials as David Fincher. Gone Girl is the latest film to be filed on that shelf of dark Fincher thrillers alongside Se7en, Fight Club, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Based on the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn (who was brought on board to write the screenplay), Gone Girl is a weighty two and a half hours of tension based around young spouses Nick (Ben
Affleck) and Amy (Rosamund Pike). On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick returns home to find signs of a break-in and struggle, and his wife is gone without a trace. Amy is reported missing, and the case lands on the desk of Detective Boney (Kim Dickens), who is left to unravel the yarn and try to find the truth of the situation.
As with his previous films, Fincher is not afraid to spend time allowing multiple layers of plot to develop. Cutting between the ongoing investigation and flashbacks through excerpts from Amy’s
diary, fingers tentatively start to point in all possible directions as we discover some of the more problematic sides of the relationship, while an ever growing media profile adds extra tension to the
case. Affleck is on a career high with his portrayal of Nick, whose nonchalant demeanour begins to crumble, particularly when the shadow of suspicion falls on him. Pike’s Amy is also a force of
nature – revealed through sweet and cheery diary entries that darken as the days roll on. Both characters bring an easy attractiveness that is coupled with a sense of untrustworthiness; the end
result is a wonderful kind of ambivalence as you are expertly led through the narrative. The tension is kept tight throughout thanks to another incredible musical collaboration with Trent Reznor, who embraces his inner Brian Eno to put together an ambient but taut score.
Gone Girl is masterpiece of storytelling that underlines the importance of dramatic obfuscation and revelation, and refreshingly it doesn’t rely on a third-act twist to make sense. What we have is
a tightly wound thriller that peppers the audience with a plethora of questions and possibilities – there is a bucket load of tension, some bloody carnage, and even enough space for a little satirical
humour. Without a doubt Gone Girl is one of the most solid films of the year, see it before it disappears from the cinema.