Gone Girl
Directed by David Fincher  
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris
Rated R for language, bloody violence and strong sexuality/nudity
2 hr. 29 min.

Whodunnits are older than the movie industry itself. One can go back as far as Edgar Allen Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who made classic careers out of them. Gone Girl can take its place in the same echelons as a mystery that takes the best Hollywood has to offer.

Told through a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards, the film tells the tale of Nick Dunne (Affleck) and his wife, Amy (Pike). On their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick reports to the police that his wife, Amy, has gone missing. Under severe pressure from the local police and a rapidly growing media frenzy, Nick’s attempts to prove his innocence start to fall apart. Soon his lies and bizarre behavior have everyone from his loyal sister to Amy’s parents, as well as most of the country, asking one very tough question: Did Nick Dunne actually kill his wife?

Gillian Flynn adapted Gone Girl for the screen from her bestselling novel; dedication to the source material and respect for the authenticity of the characters really shines through. The twisted path the plot takes the audience on is intriguing and makes the two and a half hours fly by — no small feat for a drama, where that length of time, in the hands of a different writer, could have been damaging to say the least. And the director David Fincher does not disappoint, either. He has never shied away from disturbing subject matter, displaying it with a dark elegance on the screen. Coaxing some wonderful performances from his actors (including a surprisingly authentic one from Tyler Perry), he puts the audience in the middle of a wild storm of speculation, paranoia and morbid curiosity.

If the film suffers at all, it is via the heavy hand taken to the current role of media in culture. Of course, without it, you wouldn’t have much of a movie, but there are a few very obvious clichés that we’ve all seen before and see every day on dozens of “news” channels. This is a small complaint though, as the other aspects of the picture (including another Oscar-worthy score from Trent Reznor) are well worth seeing it. And with the buzz around Mr. Affleck for taking on the upcoming role of the Dark Knight, it is good to see him diving into a subdued role as a seemingly bumbling husband who doesn’t know how to live in the spotlight, especially when that spotlight is shined on him by crafty detectives who suspect him of gruesome murder. This movie should win more than a few awards come March. Go see it now, before it’s gone.