By JULIANNE KUHN
On the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, New Yorker Nick Dunne arrived home to find his wife, Amy, was missing. Surrounded by a media frenzy and suspicion from the police force in his small hometown in Missouri, Nick’s stories and behavior in front of the cameras leave him looking less than innocent.
As the film “Gone Girl” progresses, the flashbacks and peeks into Nick and Amy’s marriage seem to seal his fate. During the film, many plot twists raise the ultimate question: Did Nick kill his wife?
Based on the hit novel by Gillian Flynn, “Gone Girl” is a dramatic thriller that holds its audience captive through the entire two and half hours that it runs. Flynn writes the screenplay with impressive depth, changing certain portions so that even fans of the novel could not fully predict the plot.
Ben Affleck’s portrayal of the secretive, callous Nick Dunne keeps the audience internally debating whether they believe in his innocence or hope for his conviction. His interactions with his twin sister Margo (Carrie Coon) show his true self, while his treatment of his senile father, his smirk and his actions in front of the media make the audience cringe.
Otherwise, Coon’s Margo adds little interest to the film, other than being the only person who is consistently on Nick’s side. Rosamund Pike takes on Amy, the star character of her parents’ “Amazing Amy” children’s book series, and paints her as the increasingly bored and ever-questioning wife of bar owner.
Nick took her from her native New York home because of the recession and depends on her for financial support, feeding the seeds of resentment that are growing inside her.
Tyler Perry plays Tanner Bolt, a famous lawyer who specializes in proving guilty murderers innocent. In a surprising deviation from his usually comedic roles, Perry proves that he is no longer a one trick pony in this role, and his appearance mid-film refreshes the plot and draws the audience back in.
Neil Patrick Harris also leaves his mark in this film, playing a figure from Amy’s past with the perfect balance of creepiness and innocence.
Emily Ratajkowski’s breakout role as Andie Hardy is nothing exciting as she plays the typical young mistress with little depth but a wealth of sex appeal. This is nothing new for Ratajkowski, who before the film was best known for her nude appearance in the infamous “Blurred Lines” music video.
In a time when we unfortunately see too many women disappearing and never resurfacing, the beginning of the film is an all too real reminder of the world we live in and what we see on the news. Of course the film is a fantastical take on this, but the constant pressure by the media and the police is something that is seen far too often in reality.
This film held my attention, an impressive feat as the two-hour mark came and went, and it kept me guessing the entire time. By the end, my jaw was on the floor as a barrage of twists hit me that left me in shock. I would give this film a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is one of the better movies that I have seen this year and a fresher take on the usual kidnapping thriller.
“Gone Girl” is now in theaters.