A flawless adaption of a terrific book, GONE GIRL is my favorite film of 2014 so far.
Ben Affleck stars as Nick Dunne, a frustrated writer married to the beautiful, urbane and semi-famous Amy, played perfectly by Rosamund Pike.
On his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick heads to the bar (cleverly named The Bar) that he owns with his sister Margo.
Over a lunch time scotch or two, their conversation reveals that Nick and Amy have not found smooth sailing in their first half decade together and that Margo and Amy are less than close.
Nick heads home after lunch to find their cat outside, the front door open and furniture smashed in the living room. Amy is nowhere to be found.
Nick calls the police and Detective Boney (Kim Dickens) and Officer Gilpin (Patrick Fugit) arrive to inspect the scene.
To dig too much into the plot beyond this point would be to disturb the perfect journey that Director David Fincher (Se7en, The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) has constructed for you. Along with screenwriter Gillian Flynn, who has adapted her hugely successful book for the screen, Fincher controls every moment, every performance, every image so precisely that the film is like a fine Swiss watch. There isn't a wasted shot or a throwaway word of dialogue to be found.
Pay attention to the main titles. Have you ever seen a title sequence that propels you through the names and details so quickly? Fincher is setting you up for what's to follow, seeing if you can keep up for the journey ahead.
Amy has found fame through being the title subject of a best selling series of children's books about "Amazing Amy". Her parents have painted the Amy in the stories for years alongside their own daughter's life, but buffing and polishing her every moment into success.
Rosamund Pike is superb as Amy, giving a multi- dimensional portrait of a woman that we discover through flashbacks, narration and revelation.
Affleck proves again what an excellent actor he is, matching Pike and the excellent supporting cast note for note.
It's a tribute to Fincher's brilliance that he has brought out a shockingly great performance from Tyler Perry as famous defense lawyer Tanner Bolt. It would be easy to throw Perry's casting down to a stunt, but he is perfect here, bringing subtle humor and nuance to the film and nearly stealing the movie. I could not have imagined that possible before the film started.
Neil Patrick Harris is also terrific as Amy's former boyfriend Desi. He's half Norman Bates and half overwhelmed suitor and it's a great turn.
The music score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Finch is just as perfect as their scores for Dragon Tattoo and Social Network. It's by turns quiet, creepy, disturbing and terrifying, as is the film.
For those of you that have read the book, as I did, you won't be disappointed.
For those that haven't, get ready for one of the best mysteries you have ever seen.
Fincher manages to honor the storytelling style of the novel, while fleshing it out and creating additional layers of flashbacks and time jumps that make the puzzle even more entertaining to solve.
This is violent and bloody masterpiece and one of Fincher's best. Digging deep into the way in which relationships are created and the real selves behind the face we wear for each other, it's not a simple whodunit.
Like Amy, it's Amazing and gets an A+.