By Tim Olsen
I have a confession to make: this is my first David Fincher film.
That’s right, I haven’t seen “The Social Network,” “Se7en,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – Not even “Fight Club.”
But now, after seeing “Gone Girl,” I am shocked that this genius has remained off my radar for so long.
“Gone Girl” tells the story of Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck), who comes home one day to find that his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone missing. He conducts a search with the support of the police and the public, both of which are not always willing to support him. As Nick searches for his wife, we learn more about their relationship and whether he is to blame for her disappearance, a claim his behavior seems to suggest.
What follows is an in-depth exploration of relationships, with the story using sensationalized media coverage of its events to show the difference between public perception and fact, with the truth often revealing itself in private moments rather than on the screen.
Everyone brings their “A” game to this film. The story is tense, the direction smooth, the cinematography absolutely slick and the acting always on par, with Affleck and Pike playing their roles with just the right air of mystery before showing us their true colors. This perfect synchronization of cast and crew is a sign of truly masterful direction, a show of incredible craftsmanship that does not happen very often.
Once again, I ask: how has Fincher eluded me for this long? What he brings to the screen is a masterful control of tone, starting off with a distant, mysterious feel before becoming increasingly tense as we receive more information. And boy, does it get tense, with one scene in particular containing some truly disturbing violence, causing my usually reserved self to squirm in my seat.
Man, what a ride.
“Gone Girl” is both an intense thriller and a brilliant work of art, keeping you guessing at every turn as it discusses its cynical themes with you. With awards season coming soon, it’s hard to imagine how “Gone Girl” could not be a major contender.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some Fincher films to watch.