Gone Girl (REVIEW)

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Gone Girl, at 149 minutes in length, is a film that takes a lot of twists in turns. And it's told in a series of dates - current and past.

Sept. 29, 2014 - Went to a screening of the new Ben Affleck film 'Gone Girl.'

July 5th, 2012 - Nick Dunne (Affleck) comes home to find a smashed coffee table and a few other things in disarray in his house in St. Louis, Missouri, and there's no sign of his wife, the beautiful Amy (Rosamund Pike). For some reason, he's slow to call the authorities and doesn't even bother to call Amy's parents. Detective Rhonda Boney (a very good Kim Dickens) and Officer Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit) immediately arrive on the scene. The investigation begins.

Flashback to Jan. 8, 2005 - Nick and Amy meet at a party in Manhattan, and instantly fall in love. She calls him her 'Irish Prince.' During one sexual encounter they have, he tells her 'I really like you' while he has his face in her crotch.

July 5th, 2012 - This is Nick and Amy's wedding anniversary - 5 years - but there's no Amy. She's either missing or dead. There is, however, an envelope with a clue to find the anniversary present she bought for Nick the she left for him in her panty drawer. Meanwhile, Detective Boney puts post-it notes all over the house where evidence is found that may help in determining what happened to Amy. Nick tells the police 'should I be concerned' while being questioned in the police station. Unbeknownst to him is that his father is yards away, in the same police station, who had wandered out of his nursing home and was picked up the police. Amy's parents (Lisa Banes and David Clennon) don't look too hysterical or upset, but they stand by Nick. Within one day a hotel ballroom is transformed into a findamazingamy.com nerve centre (this website is actually one of the film's websites). At a press conference the police hold - Nick stands next to a poster of his wife and displays a creepy grin. Is he guilty?

Jan. 8, 2007 - Nick proposes to Amy, two years after they had met. They are happily engaged and soon enough are a married couple, with an amazing sex life. Amy becomes a best-selling children's book author (Amazing Amy) and Nick continues his work as a writer. Things take a turn for the worse as Nick loses his job and Amy has to lend her parents $1 million from her trust fund as an investment they made has gone sour. It's not made clear in the movie where the trust fund comes from. And at one point Nick says that his wife has a 'world class vagina.'

Sept. 23, 2010 - In Ben's hometown in Missouri, Nick's mother is very sick with stage 4 breast cancer, so Nick and Amy move there. They rent a large, beautiful two-story house, beautifully furnished within one day of moving in. I wish my movers were that quick.

July 6, 2012 - It turns out that Ben has a mistress - she's 20-year old student Andie Hardy? (an extremely sexy Emily Ratajkowski, a student at the school where Nick teaches at. And Nick is not able to stay at his home as it is a crime scene - so he stays at his sister Margo's (Carrie Coon) house, where him and Andy have passionate sex all night. It's amazing that his sister doesn't hear them.

Oct. 2, 2011 - Nick's mother passes away. Nick and Amy fight about having a baby - she wants to have one but he doesn't. During the fight he hits her and she hits the floor hard, yet she stays with him. Gone Girl is setting in motion Nick's motive in the disappearance of his wife, making us think he's guilty. He could possibly be, as he had just increased the life insurance policy on Amy, and they have credit card debt up to here. And Amy did buy him a bar in town, called The Bar, where his sister works at, and he manages.

July 7, 2012 - The investigation into the disappearance of Amy continues.

Gone Girl, at 149 minutes in length, is a film that takes a lot of twists in turns. And it's told in a series of dates - current and past - with a date appearing on the bottom of the screen so you know when it happened. But the series of events above is just the first part of the movie. Gone girl is basically told in four story arcs: Nick and Amy's early relationship and marriage, the time when she goes missing, and two more story arcs that if I mention here would give the plot away. So Gone Girl goes from being a movie about a man who is suspected of murdering his wife into so so so much more. It's twists and turns will make you dizzy. And Gone Girl takes a turn for the more mysterious after Amy's diary is found in a furnace in a wooden shack (anniversary five is wood - get it?).

Based on the best-selling book of the same name by Gillian Flynn, she's also responsible for the screenplay. It's been said that the script stays true to the book. So Director David Fincher (The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) is responsible for making us believe, or question, Nick's guilt or innocence, and Amy - is she really the girl next door who happens to be a victim? As I mentioned before, saying anything more would give away the story - so if you read the book you'll know what happens on Feb. 14, 2012 and the days after July 7th, 2012.

As Gone Girl continues, it veers into Fatal Attraction territory times ten....yes, it's that kind of movie, and it's not what you see in previews. So how good is it? I really can't believe that this film is getting rave reviews - as mentioned above it's frustrating at how the plot veers from the dramatic and suspenseful to the bizarre and unbelievable. A few things I found wrong with the film: Amy's parents are so wooden and barely show any emotion when she disappears; Nick's father is introduced at the police station but then disappears from the rest of the film; there's a vigil for Amy at a park that looks entirely staged, especially when Andie yells that she is his mistress; and the last 20 minutes of the movie are just preposterous and unbelievable.

Having said that, the performances are extraordinary. Affleck can't do no wrong. He recently won an Oscar for Argo (as Producer, his second Oscar after his first win for the screenplay of Good Will Hunting). In Gone Girl, his Nick is either very guilty or very innocent, and he plays it for all it's worth, and as the second half of the movie unfolds, he makes his character unfold in the same way the plot does. It's a very believable performance. Pike is also very good as Amy. She loves her husband - or does she? Pike, having previously starred in supporting roles, comfortably takes the lead in this film. She's exposed, in more ways than one. Is she the victim or not?

Boney makes a very effective detective Dickens. All the evidence points to Nick, so why shouldn't she be pursuing him and following him? Neil Patrick Harris joins the film in the second half as a former boyfriend of Amy's who is very wealthy and who we are led to believe stalked her and held a candle for her all these years. Harris, star of television's 'How I met your mother,' which is ending it's run soon, definitely has a film career ahead of him. He's a bit both creepy and loveable.

Near the end of the film, we are told that 'When 2 people love each other and can't make it work, that's the real tragedy,' well the real tragedy, for me anyway, is how disappointed I was in this film. At the end, one of the main characters says 'What were we thinking, what will we do,' hell I don't know what the filmmakers were thinking!