Review: Gone Girl

David Fincher's newest visual essay

October 06 2014

By Tyler Hall


Lets get David Fincher's magnificent career and highlights out of the way. It should be a formality for you to have to hear from me about how tremendously talented the man is. Not a single one of his movies (I checked IMDB and I have seen all of them) is below 3.5 stars. Not even Alien 3. Actually, just kidding I don't include Alien 3; the film had so many failings due to studio involvement that it is hard to blame that first blemish on Fincher. Fincher's style relies on precision. Everything about his films feel as perfectly pieced together as the manhunt led by the detectives from Zodiac. The man is well noted in the business for his high demand out of his actors with a tremendous amount of takes on set. The cold and distant look is a constant in the visual acumen of David Fincher, and Gone Girl is no different. (Quick sidenote: Top 3 Fincher films in order are Zodiac, Se7en, and Social Network).

So visually how does Gone Girl measure up to the rest of the noteable director's work? The short answer is very well. Ever since the move to digital for Fincher he has adopted a visual aesthetic that is dark and intense. One stunning scene in particular near the end of the film stands out as one of the top scenes from any of his films. If you enjoyed Fincher's visual work from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo or The Social Network then definitely give this one a look as well. This is one of the directors whose cinematography and aesthetic are well worth the price of admission by themselves.

However, many problems I have with Gone Girl are similar to those of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Yes, the source material is 1000 times better this time around (GWTDT is a very subpar novel) but the film adaptation still feels lacking in many areas with regards to the script. The twists in particular felt underserved, nothing this time around resembling anything similar to Fight Club or Se7en. As soon as the movie starts to focus more on the wife and the investigation the film starts to falter. This movie shines as a discussion on marriage, love, and the winding roads in between. It is a very dramatic recreation of what two individuals may go through in life and in many regards feels solid throughout. The idea of Nick Dunne and Amy Elliott drifting apart is the most important concept for the entire film and gives cred to the rest of the films progression.

 As a final note I would really like to point out how well this movie aligns with Ben Affleck's uptick in popular culture. A dark, brooding, and dramatic tale about how Affleck may or may not have murdered his wife is the perfect jumping off point for Affleck before he portrays Batman in 2016. The critical acclaim should do well to silence the doubters and help his campaign as Batman pick up steam. Also, the dude is getting jacked.