Friday, November 21, 2014

Gone Girl (a movie review (without the book) post)

Well... Here we are at the beginning of the Oscar Run. That's my new term for the beginning of what is kind of Oscar season. Technically, there is no "Oscar season;" however, it's also true that most of the movies that are nominated for best picture come out in November and December. At any rate, we went to see our first of the potential nominees.
First, I have not read the book. My wife has, but she was careful not to tell me anything about it other than read to me the "cool girl" speech. Still, I knew that there was a twist (because everyone is always talking about Twist in this one) even if I didn't know what it was. It didn't catch me. Maybe, it's because I knew there was one and was just anticipating or, maybe, it's because of how the movie starts, which is what I suspect. And I'd love to talk about it, but I don't actually want to spoil it for anyone else. So I'll just say it like this:

When you have a character alone and that character is reacting to something in a particular way, since there are no other characters around to witness the reaction, the audience is inclined to trust that the reaction is genuine.

I think that's what "ruined" the twist for me, because I had already accepted one particular reaction from one of the characters as genuine, so I wasn't able to go down the path that the director wanted me to go so as to be surprised by the truth.

My wife tells me that I would have been fooled by the book. Now, we'll never know.

Okay, all of that aside, I did really enjoy the movie. Ben Affleck is excellent. It's a rather subdued role, but he played it really well. He's a guy who isn't happy in his marriage, has financial issues, and... well, I don't want to tip anything off. Affleck is very adept, though, at switching his charm on and off, and he uses it well in this movie. Mostly, he's a disheveled mess, but he has those flashes of charisma that seemingly come out of nowhere and are instantly gone.

Rosamund Pike was an excellent choice for Amy Dunne. She has that rather cold, detached demeanor that worked really well in this role.

Beyond the two leads, I liked Tyler Perry as Tanner Bolt. A lot. I'm not really familiar with Perry beyond knowing his name, so it was good to see him in something. I don't know if his portrayal of Bolt is anything like the character in the book, but I really enjoyed him on screen.

And, you know, it's good to see Neil Patrick Harris in anything, though I don't think there was anything remarkable about this role for him other than to be reminded that he is capable of more than just being Barney, which is to same Awesome.

I won't be surprised if Gone Girl gets nominated (they seem to have slim pickings this year from what I can tell from the early lists), but it's not going to win. ]Yeah, yeah. I know last year my pick didn't even get a nomination, but I still stand by it.] It's a good, solid movie. Interesting. If you haven't read the book, you are likely to get caught up in trying to figure out what's really going on. And there's a lot in it to keep you talking about it for a few days. It's definitely worth seeing, though it's not a movie you really need to see in the theater.


  1. Not interested in the book, but I do want to see the movie. Affleck has been really good in his roles the past few years.

  2. I really liked "Gone Girl." The twist caught me by surprise, mostly because I hadn't paid much attention to the hype for the movie.

    One thing I mentioned in reviewing a PT book a while back was whether revealing that there is a twist, at all, helps spoil the twist. I don't know that I would have foreseen this particular one, but I think moviemakers should be a bit careful of even saying "there's a twist."

    What I really liked was that even after the movie chose sides, the characters were complicated. Plus, each step the movie took managed to be so incremental that by the time it had moved into the extreme stuff it still felt believable.

  3. People tend to really hate the ending of that book/movie, but I thought it worked.

  4. I'm glad Ben Affleck is good in it. I've become more impressed with his acting of late. My pick for Best Actor last year was nominated, but for a different movie.


  5. Alex: I think he's always been good. He's a good actor.

    Briane: The characters are complicated while still also being (mostly) stereotypes. That was kind of interesting.
    It wasn't the movie makers that gave away about the twist in this one; it was the readers. That happened well before there was even going to be a movie.

    L.G.: My wife told me I would hate the ending, but I found it, actually, appropriate. Horrifying but appropriate.

    Janie: My pick for best actor last year won that category. I was glad.

  6. I must have been one of the only ones not to like the book, so I'm not interested in seeing the movie. This is one where I just don't see the appeal...

  7. Jeanne: It's the lie that does it. People can't believe they fall for it.

  8. This movie is on my list of films I want to see. I think Ben Affleck is an excellent actor. I haven't read the book either and I think I'd like to do that before I see the movie, I'll be expecting the twist behind every scene!

  9. Eva: I suppose it depends upon which you want spoiled for you. heh
    My wife did say they held pretty close to the book, though, so that's good.

  10. Hi Andrew .. I missed the movie when it was down here and I did want to see it - I'll catch it somewhere along the line ...

    I expect I'll be caught out ... am sure I won't get to read the book first ...

    Cheers Hilary

  11. Hilary: Let me know what you think when you finally get to see it.

  12. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I did read the book (the author was set to be a keynote at our conference this past April, but had to back out due to family reasons, so I read several of her books in prep). Were the characters as unlikable in the movie? Flynn is really good at writing plots that are interesting enough to carry you through despite the characters being awful people.

  13. Shannon: I don't have the impression that they were as unlikable. It's hard for me to say without having read the book.

  14. Gone Girl, the movie that wouldn't be gone. When I thought it was going to end it just kept going, and getting more and more far-fetched. And when I thought, "Ah,'s the ending...," nope, not a chance. Just cut to a new scene to annoy me even more. Two and a half hours is a little too long for even a good movie but for a bad one it's an eternity.

  15. Thomas: It never felt that long to me.

  16. It's increasingly difficult to craft a plausible and unpredictable thriller, but Gone Girl actually manages to keep us on our toes.

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