Super Hero Free Afternoon: Gone Girl

As I was sitting through the previews at the movies on Sunday, I caught myself flinching and looking to my left when some Hollywood super star or another dropped the F-bomb. It was then I realised – there’s only grown-ups here with me today, and I’m pretty sure they can handle a swear word or two…

What a shock when it registered just how long it had been since I had gone to a movie with other adults, and not my kids. I sighed a contented sigh at the prospect of (1) seeing a film that did not have one single super hero in it; (2) seeing a film which was unlikely to involve any explosions and; (3) not needing to worry about what the person sitting next to me was hearing, seeing, or thinking.

tbyl reviewersIn short, despite the sometimes grubby content matter of the film, Gone Girl, it was always going to be a great day at the movies. The fact that a bunch of TBYL Reviewers and I had managed to get out of the house together made it all the sweeter.

I’d been looking forward to seeing Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, in the way that one normally does with a film based on a book they’ve enjoyed – with equal parts excitement and trepidation. The general assumption that ‘the movie is never as good as the book’ holds true in many instances, and many a good reading experience has been tarnished by a shoddy film adaption. Despite this, I had seen the trailer and my first impressions had been that the look of the film seemed pretty spot on, and the casting was right on the money. I thought it would be worth a watch.

gone girl

I’m not a huge Ben Affleck fan, I find him just a little bit boring (sorry!), but I really think that he was a perfect fit for Nick Dunne. Rosamund Pike is an interesting actor, with a most definite ‘dark horse’ aspect to her acting, so again I thought her pretty right as Amy Dunne.

As it happens Rosamund played Amy more in the realm of ‘mad as a cut snake’ than just simply dark, and created a truly deplorable character, quite clearly capable of anything. And I mean anything. The most violent and disturbing scenes of this film all centre around her, perpetrated as a means for her to see her way clear of the gigantic mess she finds herself in.

Affleck, as Nick played dull, disengaged husband to a tee. He was convincingly emotionally awkward, making the whole ‘most probably a wife-killer’ part of this story believable. This, of course, is very important to the story, we need to believe that Nick is not a nice guy.

Now, this of course is where I ponder on the great metaphysical conundrum of book-to-film adaptions. What would this film have been like if I hadn’t read the book?  Would the movie have been more suspenseful, if I’d not known the twist? Would I have guessed what was coming? Would I have been as gripped by this pretty detailed, fairly dialogue-driven story, if I was not, as a reader, waiting to see how the story would unfold on screen? My sister (and TBYL Reviewer) Tam was sitting with me, and she’d not read the book. I asked her after the movie what she thought, and she assured me that her head was still spinning. She didn’t see the Second Act coming at all, and the story did not at all end up where, at the the beginning of the film, she thought it would be.

She found it suspenseful, frightening and above all, pretty gripping. In her opinion, the reasonably long playing time of this film (about 2 and half hours) went really quickly, it didn’t drag at any point.


Personally, I felt the same way – Gone Girl held my attention from start to finish (as had the novel). Perhaps some of the chill, the suspense was taken out of it for me, knowing which way the wind was going to turn but I don’t think that’s a major problem at all, it was still a pretty wild ride.

Gone Girl is not for the faint of heart, and at times gets quite nasty. It’s necessary to the story so I didn’t have any issue with it, and it’s by far not the most disturbing film I’ve seen. Nonetheless, if you don’t like blood or swearing, perhaps give this movie a miss. Otherwise, I would definitely recommend this movie, especially to lovers of crime and suspense. It’s a well put together story, well acted (mostly) and leaves you wondering, what next?

Gone Girl is in cinemas now.

If you’re interested, you’ll find my review of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, here…