October 08, 2014
All the girls in the studio were so excited to see Gone Girl together last weekend. Olivia, our office/stock coordinator, couldn't wait to compare the new movie to the book, which she'd just loved when she read it years before. So, I asked her to give us her take on the book vs. the movie and how they stacked up against each other. I love what she wrote and think she's spot on. And of course, there are spoilers here, so read on with caution! xcv I picked up a copy of Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” late last year, after my mother, along with what seemed like the rest of world, touted its excellence as a riveting crime thriller. Without restraint, I promptly read it cover to cover. Flynn’s gripping tale of love gone wrong transports the reader into the depths of a crumbling, potentially dangerous marriage, starting with the disappearance of wife Amy Dunne on the morning of her fifth wedding anniversary. From the outset, their small Missourian town seems to teeter between feeling sorry for husband Nick Dunne’s loss and fingering him as murder suspect number one. We learn how Nick, a charming Southern-born writer, met Amy, an exceptionally intelligent fellow scribe, at a New York party, and how they subsequently fell in love. However, author Flynn challenges the idea that love conquers all as the two marry, lose their jobs, and move south to care for Nick’s ailing mother, all the while their relationship unraveling. Add two parts financial insecurity, one part infidelity, a dash of resentment over yet-to-be-conceived children, and you’ve got Flynn’s recipe for one compelling story. I was thoroughly intrigued by Amy Dunne, the complex, atypical female lead. Is she a woman scorned or is she a sociopath? At times I felt compassion toward her, then I would turn the page and find myself repulsed at the lengths Amy was willing to go to. Flynn’s uncanny ability to delve into the layers of an unhappy marriage kept me up well past my bedtime; I found myself feeling palpably uncomfortable as I dug through infinite plot twists and distressing revelations. This weekend, after months of impatient waiting, I finally saw the film adaptation of “Gone Girl”, and for me, it was worth the wait. Flynn penned the screenplay herself, keeping true to the dark, troublesome voice of the novel, spinning deeply disconcerting revelations seamlessly. In my opinion, while the movie fell short of the gripping publication I so obsessively read last winter, it certainly did not fail to entertain. Director David Fincher, who was also at the helm for “Social Network” (a film I could watch every day) transports us to the town of North Carthage, filmed predominately on location in southern Illinois and Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Fincher’s stunning shots showcase a community—and a relationship—struggling to stay above water, and highlight the reality of how quickly gossip spreads and accusations fly in small-town America. The film pulls the viewer through the engaging, unexpected story of Nick and Amy’s passionate love, which melts into a narrative of sour resentment, animosity, and possible episodes of violence between them. We see instances of infidelity and distrust flow into malevolent plans for payback. We are again compelled to suspect Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck, branching out in a different role) of wrongdoing in one scene; in the next we witness the manipulative, sinister genius of Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike, masterly playing the calculating character—and managing to thoroughly creep me out). Despite having read the book less than a year ago, I found myself surprised and engaged as the movie rolled on and the plot thickened. Affleck and Pike played their roles well, though occasionally their dialogue and chemistry seemed unbelievable. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross provide a chilling instrumental soundtrack that expertly matches the tone of both the book and the film. In my opinion, while the book is almost always better than the movie, I think Fincher and Flynn made a great team on this adaptation—and Tyler Perry playing lawyer Tanner Bolt was an excellent casting choice!