I came late to Gone Girl.
Gillian Flynn’s novel became a phenomenon in 2012. Published in June, it sold over two million copies within the year.
It became a favourite of book clubs and a stalwart of review pages, staying at the top of the New York Times bestseller index for weeks on end.
Somehow it passed me by at the time, but with the movie version arriving in Ireland I decided to catch up with the book before seeing it.
Near the end of the book I was faced with quandary of whether to see the movie if I’d read the book, and compromised by not finishing the last few chapter.
The film itself sticks closely to the book, with some minor changes – interestingly the screenplay is by Gillian Flynn as well, so fidelity to the written word is not surprising. By no means though is this a rigidly ‘stage bound’ production slavishly following every aspect of the book; some parts and characters have been omitted, and some minimised and the timeline altered where necessary.
The core of the story remains the same. Nick Dunne and Amy Elliott Dunne are married. Both are writers. They live the life of a dream couple. Amy is the inspiration for and living embodiment of her parents’ best selling children’s books ‘Amazing Amy’, about a near perfect girl who (over)achieves at everything.
Nick Dunne left his North Carthage, Missouri behind and become a success in the literary/journalism world of New York.
Boy meets girl at a party, true love strikes and the two are entwined as soulmates for ever.
Not quite. The fairytale takes a bit of a dent when both lose their jobs and move back to Nick’s hometown, but their lives continue more or less as normal.
When the film opens we see Nick Dunne now an ex-writer running a bar with his sister, Margo – or Go for short.
It’s Nick and Amy’s five year anniversary; he doesn’t have a present yet but he has the whole day……then the phone rings.
Nick drives home and finds his house empty. Amy has disappeared – the Gone Girl.
The rest of the movie unravels and unspools the story in more detail, using present and flashback perspectives.
The surprises come thick and fast, as do the twists, turns, and revelations. What starts as a simple love story and two people fated to be together, takes a complicated turn with many angles. Will true love run its course? In sickness and in health, till death do them part?
Rosamund Pike was a little questionable for the early part of the film but by the end her performance will be seared in your brain – especially one particular scene; if you don’t like blood, be prepared!
Ben Affleck is well-nigh perfect for the role of Nick, and the supporting cast of Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens in particular are very much contenders for best on-screen performance.
Very enjoyable with some of the tense and uncomfortable moments that mark out a good thriller. Do see it if you get a chance – just not if your relationship (should you be in one) is in any way delicate!