Sunday, Nov 27, 2022

Hollywood Rewind | Gone Girl: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike-starrer is as much a ‘marriage movie’ as it’s a thriller

Rosamund Pike was stellar as Amy. The mannerisms, the voice modulation as she goes through different phases of her life in front of us -- sober, sweet, scared and obnoxious -- was incredible. Pike was nominated for an Oscar, BAFTA, and a Golden Globe for her performance in Gone Girl.

gone girlBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike starred in this David Fincher movie. (Photo: 20th Century Fox)

David Fincher is a clever director, who managed to show us one of the most dysfunctional marriages in modern cinema by disguising it as a thriller. Yes, it is the 2014 Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike-starrer that I speak of. Based on the book of the same name by Gillian Flynn, upon its release, Gone Girl was not only a smashing hit at the box office that minted a whopping $369 million of its modest budget of $61 million budget, it was loved by critics too. Pike, in particular, was showered with plaudits for her electrifying performance as the sociopath, troubled wife Amy Dunne. She was nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award as well as a BAFTA.

For the uninitiated, the plot primarily dealt with the seemingly normal relationship of a couple, Nick Dunne (a writing teacher played ably by Ben Affleck), and his wife, the rich and sophisticated Amy Dunne (a creepy, hair-raising act pulled off by Rosamund Pike). Nothing seems wrong or off about the pair until one day, Amy suddenly disappears, leaving an exhausted, confused but aloof Nick. First, everyone thinks he is the victim, but as things unravel, the audience gets to know about the manipulative and vicious aspect of Affleck’s character.

At the beginning, I mentioned that Fincher is a smart filmmaker. And here’s why — Gone Girl is of course a thriller in the traditional sense of the term. It starts off as a regular whodunnit, and then, it quickly takes form to emerge as something more than that. A deeper look into the psyche of two broken, troubled people who are bound to each other by the promise of matrimony. Amy’s constant need to take revenge, her conflicted and toxic love for her partner was a giant red flag for intensive mental health therapy.

She not only seems to despise herself, but everyone who chooses to see only the good in her, including her parents (although she never harms them in a tangible fashion, according to the film). Nick, meanwhile, suffers from a terrible sense of low self-esteem who does not have it in him to leave Amy, despite his obvious negligence towards her and their marriage. A lack of spine, as they say. Both are imperfect, and of course if one wants to look at the portrayal ‘realistically,’ it will come of as an exaggeration of a marital discord, as simple as two people unsuited for each other. Perhaps unsuited for anyone until they regain some of their sense of self back through much-needed therapy.

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Rosamund Pike was stellar as Amy. You cannot help but believe her when she shows you her sweet, elegant side at the beginning, and then take her words at face value when she recounts some horrific events via her diary. And then, her true self steps out of the shadows and you are left both sad and shocked for her. The mannerisms, the voice modulation as she goes through different phases of her life in front of us — sober, sweet, scared and obnoxious — was incredible.

And that end, that polarising end, is perhaps the most intriguing part of the film. Why go back to that relationship that gave both its partners nothing but misery? It is an upsetting, suffocating conclusion to a suffocating relationship. But in a good way, because any movie that leaves with you questions about human condition and psyche is worth the time.

You can watch Gone Girl on Netflix. 

First published on: 19-09-2021 at 08:07:22 am
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