In light of the hype surrounding the David Fincher-directed film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s thriller novel Gone Girl, I went and saw it for myself . My hopes were up and I was excited despite the fact that I hadn’t seen a single preview. At the same time, I lacked knowledge as to the plot, beside the fact that I knew it was labeled “jarring.” Well, I found it to be pretty darn jarring. SPOILER ALERT now, just in case you haven’t seen this movie and ever want to take the plunge. For those of you who would like to read the gut reactions that Elizabeth Ann Fogal had to Gone Girl, keep reading.
The film opens with a voice-over monologue by the main character, Nick Dunne: “When I think of my wife, I always think of the back of her head. I picture cracking her lovely skull, unspooling her brain, trying to get answers. The primal question of a marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? What have we done to each other? What will we do?” As the opener to a movie, that is quite an alarming sequence of questions. In one sense, it addresses the brokenness of human relationships, which is a nice nugget of reality, but is also unsettling. It terrifies those of us who have ever thought, “Hey, maybe I’ll be married one day.” Yeah, and then maybe your spouse will want to crack your skull open because you’re so frustrating! But okay, okay, he’s just trying to creep you out, and he succeeds. Let’s get on with the rest of the movie.
The film moves on to what seems to be a typical suspense/thriller. Husband comes home on their anniversary. The house has been broken into. Wife is gone. Husband freaks out. The investigation begins and towards the middle of the movie, you realize it’s just another Secret Window or Fight Club: the main guy did the deed, but he’s schizophrenic so he doesn’t know what he’s done. But just when you think you’ve figured it out… BAM. The wife is still alive! She’s speeding down the highway, chomping on Twizzlers, and thinking about how much she wanted out of her stupid marriage! Now, I almost let out a cheer in the theatre at this point. The woman is the one to make the crazy getaway? The woman is the mastermind behind a scheme designed to acquire the desires typically associated with men? Not the most honorable goal, but I enjoy an unexpected swapping of gender-roles.
Halfway through the novel (and much quicker into the film), we discover she’s hiding out in the backwoods of Mississippi after dyeing and cutting her hair, getting new clothes, the whole bit. Then you find out that this girl has an intense plan to thoroughly frame her husband and put him on death row. And if she can’t accomplish the goal, she’ll just kill herself. End it. Just like that. At this point, I was super confused as to why she started this mess in the first place, but things were moving too fast for me to stop and think about it.
Jump ahead to the part where Girl gets the money stolen, money she needed to complete her plan, so she phones up creepy ex-boyfriend Neil Patrick Harris (who I cannot see as any character but Barney Stinson). We also find out, through her husband’s increasing research on his wife, that she faked getting raped by another ex-boyfriend. Back to Neil: he’s basically Barney Stinson, but just turn down the bro and turn up the psycho. Also, don’t get attached to him. She starts to create the same circumstance she put her other ex in, but then slices his throat in the act. Yes, THE act. People are unclothed and blood is everywhere and this, my friends, is when I decided that I would never see this movie again.