Director: David Fincher Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry. 

I haven’t read the book. 

Good, now that is out-of-the-way, let me tell you that there is absolutely NO reason for you to have read the book before seeing this movie. Aside from the fact the book is a bestseller, thus probably worth reading, it isn’t a requirement – if it was, then this wouldn’t be a very good movie.

It is. Good, I mean. Dark, unapologetically outlandish, funny and thrilling from beginning to end. It’s like a messed up romantic black-comedy with a who-dunnit game of cat and mouse… and blood (lots of blood). Now I understand why friends found it difficult to explain the plot of Gillian Flynn’s book of the same name, without stopping in mid sentence and starting again only to… stop again before giving up and telling me to just read the damn book myself. I never did get round to reading it before the screening.  

Amy Dunne is a beautiful blonde and seemingly perfect; that’s partly because her successful children author parent’s have plagiarized her childhood, packaged and sold the perfect daughter in 2-D form and the world is too besotted with fabricated Amy to assume the real Amy is any different. She has her flaws, she’s tired of pretending to be someone who she isn’t but she’s trapped. By her parent’s wealth and an obligation to present the Amy the world loves to those she meets. Then she meets Nick. The charming tall dark and handsome writer, who wants her for who she really is – it’s love. 

Then a series of marital mishaps happen. Family grievances, recession and subsequent money troubles. Amy’s got money, but she’s loathe to let Nick waste away living off it. She’s missing his drive, his passion for her. Through a narrative commentary from Amy’s diary, we watch as their relationship disintegrates; Nick becomes distant, easily irritated and shady… 

Then one day Amy goes missing.

David Fincher (Social Network) has proven once again that he is a maestro at holding up a mirror to society’s prejudices, in his adaptation (penned by the author herself) it’s a cringe-worthy exposition at our blame culture, obsession with celebrity and flippant disregard for basic human rights. It’s actually quite disgusting, yes, the bloody criminal parts; the kidnapping of Amy Dunne vs the ambiguity of Nick Dunne’s true character  is an appropriate vehicle to keep our interest at bay – but I can’t help but think about the constant reminders of how we’re all just basically idiots. A world where people are thinking for themselves less and less – putting our trust and making sweeping judgements based on media sensationalism and stereotypes.

The film benefits from a enough twists, time jumps and flashbacks, that lure the audience into one thing before crushing that hope and alluding to another. Every central character is vital, they all serve a purpose in this sick story of did he or didn’t he? One things for sure, the police don’t know jack, and the public are even more clueless than they are.

Rosamund Pike is fantastic, this could very well be a reset on a career where she was in danger of being consistently boring type-cast. Ben Affleck is perfectly cast as the conventionally handsome Nick, but his ability to switch from all american family man with the side-ways smile to shady playboy with a dark-side is paramount to making this film last as long as it does (it probably could have benefitted from a 20 minute deduction in the last hour). What’s also worth mentioning is the parallels Nick’s drastic and public media lynching draws to Affleck’s similarly real life treatment when it was announced he was to take on the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman last year. It was brutal, and his tongue in cheek delivery is nothing short of brilliant. probably could have benefitted from a 20 minute cut in the last hour, but it’s still a thrilling watch. 

Out in cinemas Nationwide.


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