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“As you all know, my wife Amy Elliott-Dunne disappeared three days ago. I had nothing to do with the disappearance of my wife. I have nothing to hide,” says Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) to a crowd of volunteers, press, and police who’ve gathered for a candlelight vigil in support of Nick’s missing wife in Gone Girl.
On his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick returns home from the bar he manages and owns to discover his glass living room table shattered and no sign of his wife. He reports it to the authorities and volunteers to work with them to help find Amy. As the search for Amy goes on, Nick starts following clues to try and locate Amy – not always filling the police in on what’s going on. The search for Amy becomes a media circus with Nick’s wife turning into America’s Missing Sweetheart and Nick, with his aloof manner and strange behavior, quickly falling under suspicion by the police, media, and neighbors who are all questioning whether this man could murder his wife.
Dark, stylish, and clever, Gone Girl is an effective mystery/crime thriller with some strong performances. Ben Affleck gives his best performance since the film Hollywoodland as Nick Dunne, the husband whose behavior doesn’t seem to match the norm for these particular circumstances and who quickly comes under suspicion of foul play. Carrie Coon delivers the best performance in the film as Nick’s smart-aleck, loving and supportive sister who never liked Amy but even starts to fear the worst when she discovers one of Nick’s secrets. She has great chemistry with Affleck and every scene they share feels real. Here’s hoping she’s remembered during Oscar nominating time for Best Supporting Actress consideration.
Tyler Perry is perfectly cast as Nick’s high profile attorney Tanner Bolt who has made a career of defending unwinnable cases and coming up victorious. He adds some much needed humor and levity to an extremely ominous film. Unfortunately, Rosamund Pike is only effective in the role of Amy during certain sections of the film (relax, I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read the book by revealing too much). She has zero chemistry with Affleck in scenes that show Nick and Amy’s playful and steamy early romance. Neil Patrick Harris delivers what just might be the worst performance of his career as Desi Collings, a man from Amy’s past who may or may not be a person of interest in her disappearance. It’s a rigid and awkward portrayal of a character who seems more like a plot device than a real person.
The sleek direction and pacing of the film is steadfast creating a mystery and revealing it’s twists and surprises at just the proper moments. The soundtrack is wonderful with the music heightening the suspense of every scene rather than overpowering it.
Foreboding and crafty, Gone Girl is an intriguing mystery that will keep the audience guessing the outcome almost up to the very end.
Gone Girl is rated R for a scene of bloody violence, some strong sexual content/nudity, and language.
Professional film critic since 2003 and a member of the San Diego Film Critics Society. Host of “The Movie Guys” radio film review show from 2007 through 2013. Film and television critic for Showbizjunkies.com and a movie buff since 1973.