Film #151: Gone Girl (2014)

gone-girl-movie-still-4Director: David Fincher
Language: English
Length: 149 minutes
Watched on: June 30 2015 (1 of 3 on my flight to the UK)

In July I went back to the UK for a few weeks, as it was my mum’s wedding. It was good fun, but as usually happens, I had to endure a long-haul flight on the way there. This was the first movie that I watched on the plane.

I’d been avoiding spoilers about this movie, but it was almost impossible to completely remove it from my sight in the end: I’d managed to be careful enough not to really know anything about the characters, but a mixture of narrative inevitability and the trickling of a few assorted spoilers meant that the main storyline was reasonably predictable.

In the story, Ben Affleck’s character and Rosamund Pike’s Amy are the two main characters. One day he comes home to find that she’s not there, and that there’s evidence of a struggle, or even that she might have been murdered, and then he launches a police investigation, in which he becomes the prime suspect. There’s also an ensuing media circus, as Pike’s character is famous. Of course, we soon find out that all is not as it seems, and that she’s not really dead at all (but you could see that coming, right? Nevertheless, I’m going to start discussing a few plot points, even if indirectly, so if you don’t want to read spoilers, you’d better look away now).

A lot of what I’d heard already about the movie was that it was a great divider of the genders: men would routinely side with Affleck, and women would side with Pike in the great battle of the sexes. I didn’t feel this when I watched it: I more felt that everyone was a wrongdoer in the great scheme of things. Clearly the two protagonists are trapped in a loveless marriage, and the actions that both take in the end are reprehensible.

There’s hints of Affleck’s character’s infidelity throughout, and plenty to suggest that the relationship with Pike’s character is strained at best, but more likely with a lowkey abusive element. It’s obvious that this is what drove Amy to do what she did in the movie, but the actions seem calculated and cold in such a way that they are undoubtedly disproportionate.

I also perhaps have a bit of trouble understanding or sympathizing with the idea that men and women are so different as to suggest that all heterosexual relationships are doomed in such a way, and I find the trope that marriage is such a cumbersome chore trite. Too often, irreconcilable differences such as are shown here are dismissed as the genders being incompatible. Perhaps it’s radical, but I think these characters could have worked out their differences if they’d just talked!

Aside from that, though, the movie was stylish and held my attention for most of it. It can be classed as a thriller, and it had enough shocking elements to be worth the watch. I definitely recommend it. Perhaps you’ll take away a different opinion about the gender divide. (I’d like to hear about it!)

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