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Big Picture Deal – A Review of Gone Girl

gone girl review


PLACE: Dendy Civic, Cinema 2

PIC: Gone Girl

PEEPS: About 2o present

Dendy, so lots of short ads for food, fashion, jewellery, giftware, hair products and the like.  An ad promoting the niceness of a union-based club to female sport in Canberra*.  No #$%^ing meerkats, so common sense may have hit, or maybe the thing has won some award and no-one has to worry about showing it any more.  Previews for The Captive (family etc deal with aftermath of a child being abducted) and A Walk Among the Tombstones (Liam Neeson as a PI manque, traumatised by what he did as a cop, and now dealing with an abduction).  No prizes for guessing that the feature might be about an abduction.

gone_girl_twoflatewhitesGone Girl is one of the more extensively promoted films of the year.  For those who haven’t seen a preview, an ad or a proper review, the setup is pretty simple.  Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) is married to Amy (Rosamund Pike), nationally known as Amazing Amy, her parents’ fantasy account of her childhood.  They are not doing well, in life or in their marriage, a parade of low-grade hostility and resentment over pretty much everything, including moving from New York to Missouri**.  On their fifth anniversary, Amy disappears, with some signs of a violent abduction and Nick is Suspect No 1, the Most Hated Man in America, because he smiled for the cameras***.  Things get worse for him as more of the story emerges and his life becomes every day more of a performance for a ravenous media.  He’s supported by his twin sister, Margo (Carrie Coon) and Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry) a flamboyant lawyer with a flair for domestic homicide and media management.  On his tracks are Detective Boney (Kim Dickens) and Officer Gilpin (Patrick Fugit), as well as about  thousand media trucks, network news and commentary and his increasingly disenchanted in-laws.

The plot has a distance to go from there, but that should be left to be revealed in the film or the book****.   There’s enough substance already for a film with some ideas about the compromises inherent in marriage and, more dramatically, the extension and intrusion of the media into private lives and complex investigation.  There’s a display of the ugly phenomenon of the uninvolved appropriating the emotional strain of those at the centre as if it were their own.  There’s enough material for the amusing exercise of trying to work out which of two essentially unappealing main characters, one mostly absent or in flashback, would be less palatable as a colleague or fellow-passenger.

Three flat whites.  A good cast and some interesting ideas, plus a large budget ($US61m*****) for a conventional film, probably should have qualified for a little more.  So the coffees are large, but there are still only three of them.



* – recently voted the Most Liveable City in the world.  I think it may be a question of scale; Sydney and Melbourne have their charms, but they’re focused in a few relatively small areas.

** – where most of it was filmed.  A pretty place in a small town with some big features way.

*** – and because, let’s face it, a lot of murders seem to involve spouses and partners.

**** – which one of my co-viewers suggested was not as engaging as the film.

***** – I couldn’t guess at what Gillian Flynn got for the film rights, but it was probably heaps.

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