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“I imagine cracking open her head, unspooling her brain, trying to get answers.” — Nick Dunne

Gone Girl is an exceptionally well-made movie that I will never see again.

With David Fincher at the helm directing this movie, anyone can easily notice the meticulously crafted nature of the movie. The acting is top-notch and up to the same level as the writing and directing. Even the score by Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails fame) creates incredible tension to compliment the complicated story.

Unless a wave of high quality films pour into theaters this fall, Gone Girl will be on the short list for award season.

Rosamund Pike

I can only remember previously seeing Rosamund Pike in last year’s The World’s End (an Edgar Wright-Simon Pegg-Nick Frost venture) as the central object of affection. Despite a relatively low profile, Rosamund Pike is deservedly earning praise for an impeccable job as Amy Dunne. While Ben Affleck is first billed as Nick Dunne, Rosamund Pike outshines the megastar in this movie with her performance as an extremely popular writer known as Amazing Amy.

I’m not the biggest Ben Affleck fan, but I’ve found myself defending Affleck on more than one occasion. I blame Jennifer Lopez and Gigli for derailing Affleck’s career and making him a joke for a short stint. By no means is Ben Affleck a great actor. But Affleck is suited for this role as the hapless husband. In fact, Affleck’s sometimes controversial, often conflicted public perception actually adds another dimension to the character and this movie.

Affleck isn’t exactly likable by design, but it’s impossible not to feel his frustration. Almost none of these characters are likable. However, you understand their motivations and the decisions made that craft the character of their character.

Tyler Perry

Sadly, I would have to say Tyler Perry as Tanner Bolt is the most likable person in this movie. I think my brain just exploded after writing that sentence. But it’s true. Tanner Bolt steals the thunder in every scene as the high-profile, high-powered defense attorney, which can be credited to David Fincher’s directing.

Several other solid performances come from the various supporting roles. Neil Patrick Harris plays Desi Collings, the creepy controlling ex-boyfriend to Amazing Amy. Patrick Fugit (most famous for his leading role in Almost Famous) is surprisingly solid as Officer Jim Galpin, the right-hand man to Detective Rhonda Boney, played by Kim Dickens. Even Emily Ratajkowski does a respectable job in her limited role as the other woman, and she’s basically just some random slut with a bouncy set of boobs who is famous for being naked in Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines music video.

Based on a novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, this story bears a close, striking resemblance to the real-life case of Scott and Laci Peterson. Let’s be honest, Gone Girl is a fictionalized account of that true crime story with a clever twist.

Therein lies the problem: Gone Girl feels like it is trying to be too smart for its own good.

Smile

Although I can acknowledge Gone Girl is a film masterfully crafted by a director at the height of his power, it’s not an exceedingly interesting story without the artful presentation. The dialogue can feel stilted and unnatural at times, but the twists and turns of the story propel the action (or non-action).

While I enjoyed the experience, I can’t say I was always entertained during Gone Girl. The pace of the movie ebbs and flows with those twists and turns in the story. As a result, I felt every minute of the 2 1/2 hour runtime. Removing 30 minutes and tightening the pace would have remedied the extended ending and added an entire star to this rating. The good is exceptional, but the bad parts of this movie are painful. Don’t inspect the Jenga-esque construction of this story or a loose block could bring the whole damn thing tumbling down.

Near the end, you’re just begging for a resolution whether you like it or not.

Mercifully, Gone Girl eventually ends and is now gone forever from my memory bank.

Deadpan

4 out of 5 stars

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