Skip to main content


October 8, 2014

How Gone Girl Gave Me Most of What I Wanted

I had every great intention of seeing the book-to-screen adaptation of Gone Girl when it hit theaters on Thursday at midnight, but my delayed reading schedule got the best of me. I know, I know: That's what happens when you wait two years too long to read the hot book of Summer 2012. I wouldn't necessarily say I'm "behind the times," maybe just more selective about my reading choices for the past few years. And I should know better...when a book sells over 8 million copies, you read it in a timely manner, no questions asked. Trust me, I'm on top of 50 SHADES OF GREY.
In any case, the theater was packed, even on a Monday night. Multiple showings were still sold out, and for good reason. Because I'd just finished the book a day or two before, the story was fresh in my mind. (Shara, Editorial Manager, was responsible enough to have read the book when it was first published). I went in fully aware that some minor changes had to be made to the plot, for silver-screen sake, as is often the case. I went in knowing the musical score was fantastic, as I had previewed it last week. I went in knowing that a vigilant watcher could catch a glimpse of Ben Affleck naked, if you knew where to look at exactly the right time. I went in knowing how the psychological thriller would end. And knowing all these things helped to make the movie that much better, for me, at least. (Spoilers ahead.)
First and foremost, Rosamund Pike wonderfully and accurately portrayed Cool Girl Amy, Crazy Amy, Dead Girl Amy...all the variations of Amy we see throughout the novel. It seems nearly impossible to imagine any other actress in this role. Ben Affleck was also great. His Nick Dunne "IDGAF" attitude was most definitely believable, and his nude scene was everything we hoped for and more (cough, cough...congratulations, Jennifer Garner). All in all, the unromantic duo gave an excellent perfomance as the Dunnes, and some of the best scenes were the ones of them as a couple.
The suspenseful plot of GONE GIRL truly lends itself to the big screen. We were all holding our breath, unsure how the diary parts of the story would be told in a visual manner. The multiple viewpoint perspective is much more effective in the novel; the personal and emotional turmoil of both characters is much more present in the novel than in the movie. In the novel, we see the mania of present day Amy in juxtaposition to young Amy, who seems safer and more level-headed. Also, the generally apathy Nick feels towards his marriage is so prevalent in the book, as his small comments here and there ultimately create a stronger, more complex written narrative. Needless to say, the novel is a page-turner. I needed to know what was going to happen next as I read through each scene. As with all films, the pace of the story is not up to you, and that felt like I was in less control of how I perceived the characters, the plot, etc.
There are two memorable places in the movie that are quite incredible. First, Go's house is exactly how I envisioned it in the book. It gave off a very laid-back Missouri feel and it many ways it remains a "safe" place for Nick, a place connected to his family and the stability it represents. Secondly, Desi's lake house near the end of the movie is exquisite. It's high-tech (which becomes sort of a joke) and ultra luxurious, and seems like the Ritz in comparison to the rundown motel where Amy hides out.
I knew going into the movie that the music was super creepy. What I didn't know was how well-timed it was going to be and how much it helped translate the eerie atmosphere of the book to the screen. Once again, the dynamic duo of Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails) and Atticus Ross --- who have previously collaborated on the scores for The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo --- scored.
Clearly I think you should go see the movie. Now I think we're dunne here.