SPOILER ALERT: The following review of the movie Gone Girl contains information about the film which may impact on your viewing experience.
This movie sucks.
There you have it. If that spoils your viewing pleasure, don't say I didn't warn you.
Sand and I haven't been to the movies a lot recently. There's nothing sinister about that, it's just been we've been busy, and maybe a little bit lazy. Then too there just hasn't been a lot of stuff this year that really captures our interest. That's not a condemnation of the movies this year. I'm sure there are people that have found the current crop of films just fine. That's why there are menus in restaurants: not everybody likes the same thing. And just because we haven't gone to the theater doesn't mean we have stopped watching movies.
We watched Gone Girl last week on DVD. It's one of last year's much talked about movies, one that we declined to see in the theater because we don't like Ben Affleck. Sand would have been happy never to see it, but I do like Rosamund Pike, and since the DVD was "free" (compliments of my son-in-law's Netflix account), I convinced her to sit through a showing.
So what you have is a slutty, although very good-looking (I will admit to a secret crush on Rosamund Pike) spoiled and troubled rich girl who is the template for a highly successful fictional character created by her author parents. The fictional character shares the same name as the slutty girl -- Amy -- but the thing is, fictional Amy has the perfect life, and real Amy can't measure up. Real Amy does, however, have a million dollar trust fund set up for her with part of the earnings from the sales of the fictional Amy's books. However, none of that much matters, as we will see in a bit. You also have Nick (Ben A.), a writer whose primary skills are being smarmy and dumb. (I'm resisting using the word "typecast" here ... I really am.) They live in New York.
Nick and Amy meet and fall lustily, dirtily in love and get married and live an off-colored life together complete with sex in public places and kinky scavenger hunts. However, things get a little difficult when both Nick and Amy lose their jobs and Amy lends most of her trust fund money to her parents who have somehow gone broke. To make matters even worse, Nick's mother develops cancer, so since everything is going to hell in a hand basket, Nick and Amy (although more Nick than Amy) decide to sell up, leave New York and go to be with Nick's Mom in Missouri, where Nick's twin sister lives also, and where Amy buys Nick and his sister a bar to keep them busy. The bar is named "The Bar." I suspect they named it that so that Ben Affleck could remember what it was called. Did I say Ben Affleck? I meant Nick. Really, I did.
So, on Nick and Amy's fifth anniversary, Amy goes missing, and Nick goes totally Scott Peterson, complete with an affair with some really, really dumb bimbo, and of course we want to stand up and hiss at Ben ... Nick, sorry, I meant Nick. Soon, Nick is the prime suspect in Amy's murder, and oh yeah, she was pregnant.
It appears Amy is not dead. And she wasn't even pregnant. WTF, you say? But yes, it is true. Amy has in fact staged the whole abduction/murder thing in order to have her revenge on Nick for his infidelity. We join her on the lam, where she pays for everything in cash she keeps in a money belt worn on her person. All of which goes well until, while playing miniature golf, she celebrates a successful long putt by jumping up and down. Her pants fall down and reveal the money belt which is seen by people even more unscrupulous than herself. (Okay, I taken some license with this description -- it's never really shown that they were more unscrupulous.) They beat her and rob her. Now broke, she seeks the help of an old boyfriend who, while a thoroughly disgusting stalker type against whom she had a restraining order, is fabulously wealthy and still pathologically attracted to her. This predictably ends in his murder, which Amy then cleverly uses to re-unite herself with Ben.
The novel on which this film is based was a 2012 "literary phenomenon," second, they ('they being Wikipedia) say, only to the 50 Shades of Grey books. Makes you wonder what was in the water that year, eh?
The characters are too shallow, and we never learn enough about them to understand why they do the things they do. The things they do are really reprehensible and not very believable. You may say that because the things they do are unbelievable is the reason the story is so interesting, but for the most part, the action is this film is presented a bit too matter-of factly. For me, this was like listening to Dragnet's Detective Joe Friday narrate the whole film. "Just the facts, ma'am. We don't need to be entertained."
Even the sex and the vulgarity of this movie, instead of imparting a realism, which while I don't advocate necessarily, can be used effectively, seemed like they came from the mind of an adolescent boy.
Nobody did a good job of acting. Yes, the lovely Rosamund Pike did get nominated for Best Actress, and while the role showed she was not afraid to challenge herself as an actress, and I might even say that she got the most that she could out of the character, there just wasn't enough there to effectively compete for the Oscar.
And last but not least, I felt like most of this movie was shot in somebody's closet that was lit only by a 35 watt bulb. It was the darkest movie I can ever remember seeing, and it was distracting. Maybe that's just me.
If you haven't seen this one, you're lucky. Even though I got to see it for free, I felt like I wasted my money.