Gone Girl: An Oddly Structured Misfire (Blu-ray)
David Fincher is a director who can seemingly do no wrong. After his career began with a bit of a rocky start with “Alien³” (a bit of an infamous blunder that was hardly his fault), he would go on to make a number of great and highly-successful films that have included “Seven,” “Fight Club,” and “The Social Network” (a film that had him within inches of winning his first Oscar). Lately, his career has been all about adaptations, such as “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” with his latest project, “Gone Girl,” continuing the trend.
The film, based on the novel by Gillian Flynn (and adapted by the author herself), concerns Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck), who comes home on the day of his anniversary to find his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), missing. The story quickly becomes popular with the press, who begin to watch Nick’s every move, keeping close tabs on his seemingly strange behavior. Eventually it’s even suggested that he may have in fact killed his wife, an accusation that Nick adamantly denies, but as we find out in flashbacks, they didn’t exactly have the best of marriages. After the many hardships and disputes that are uncovered through a police investigation, it remains a distinct possibility that Nick may have done something to her, but as certain clues begin to pop up, we discover that there may be something else happening altogether.
This is the kind of story where a short synopsis works best, for to know too much going in would have a rather damaging effect on one’s enjoyment of the film. However, it’s rather ironic as this is the exact problematic situation screenwriter/author Gillian Flynn places the film in at a somewhat early early point in the tale. I don’t want to give any significant plot points away, so I’ll just say that the film gives away too much before the film is even halfway over, dampening the mystery that the audience is supposed to be enthralled with. It’s semi-interesting to follow around Nick as he has to deal with this nightmarish situation, but after we get the key pieces of information regarding what really happened, there’s just not a whole lot to get attached to as the film goes on and on for its overly-long two and a half hour runtime.
As usual, Fincher’s direction is outstanding, so just as it was with his directorial debut, there’s not really anything to blame him for, except perhaps a slight misjudging of how well this material would turn out. The film also features an incredible ensemble, including Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike (who seems destined for an Oscar nomination tomorrow morning), Neil Patrick Harris, and even Tyler Perry, who’s taken a time out from his usual terrible films to deliver an above-average performance.
It really all comes down to having a faulty structure that ruins the mystery too early, preventing it from being the gripping film that it’s trying to be. Imagine you were watching a Sherlock Holmes mystery, and about halfway through, Holmes stops and says “He did it, and here’s how.” Now imagine the film went on for nearly 90 additional minutes. That’s very similar to what we have going on here. There may be one or two other elements in the story that could be tinkered with, but when you know what’s happened, everything else feels superfluous. There is indeed a lot to like about “Gone Girl,” but in order to have the desired impact, it really needed a serious structural overhaul.
“Gone Girl” comes to Blu-ray in a phenomenal 2.40:1, 1080p High Definition transfer. The picture presented here is beautifully sharp and clear, even in the darkest of scenes, allowing you to see everything in the best possible quality. The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is also top-notch, giving you all sound elements from dialogue to score at perfect levels. Overall, this is one of the highest quality Blu-rays I’ve seen in a while, leaving little room for complaint.
Director’s Commentary: An interesting and informative commentary from David Fincher in which he discusses certain elements of the film, including casting, locations, and marketing strategies. Definitely worth a listen.
Amazing Amy: Tattle Tale: A children’s book made up to look like one written by Amy’s parents.
While there is a lot to like about David Fincher’s “Gone Girl,” including a great ensemble and excellent direction, the film suffers from a flawed structure that reveals too much too soon, thereby leaving little for the audience to get engaged with for its second half. With a little restructuring, the film’s intriguing mystery could have been played up right to the end, which would have been a far more appropriate time to learn what really happened. When it comes right down to it, I suppose it depends on whether you like your endings in the middle of the film or at its conclusion. I, for one, like them right where the word indicates they should be.
Now available on Blu-ray and DVD.
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