Disturbingly cool yet thoroughly ridiculous is how I’d describe David Fincher’s sleek thriller Gone Girl. Disturbing because of what it says about marriage and how little some spouses probably know about each other. Ridiculous because, when boiled down, it’s all rather ludicrous in retrospect, with so much depending on contrivance and all-knowing manipulation and calculation. And cool because it seems that Fincher is incapable of making movies that don’t exude this feeling – cool. He’s an emotionally icy string-puller, always has been, always will be. In Gone Girl, his trademark ominous music, gliding camerawork, and ultra-swift editing patterns amp up the tension and pace, resulting in a lightning-quick viewing experience that transcend the procedural elements and construction to the dense narrative. He’s a master craftsman who always seems to be working at the top of his game, and for those who appreciate this sort of technical precision, Gone Girl offers unending pleasures. You get the sense that, as a filmmaker, he gets a kick out of fucking with people – he’s our resident sadist entertainer. I just wish he’d get back to something a bit meatier with his subject matter.
Along with author/screenwriter Gillian Flynn, Fincher clearly saw lots of potential in this perverse, kinky, totally screwed up landscape of domestic “bliss” living, while they also set their cynical sights on the fiendish news media and society’s propensity for believing that someone’s guilty before a trial has even been conducted. All of Fincher’s movies, The Game and Fight Club especially, have reveled in sick and twisted humor, and Gone Girl amps up the dark-hearted laughs in any number of scenes, underscoring a deeply nasty point of view. Ben Affleck has rarely been better as Prime Suspect Husband and he got a chance to play with our expectations of how his character would and should act given the circumstances. Rosamund Pike got an Oscar nomination and delivered a knock-out of a performance – she needs to get more work as she’s been criminally undervalued for years. And it goes without saying that the film affords big-time Kim Dickens POWER. But for me, a far more scathing and brilliant dissection of modern marriage is Ruben Ostlund’s devastating satire Force Majeure, which thematically resembles Gone Girl in more than one instance.