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Gone Girl: Is It Worth Your Money?

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Gone-Girl-PosterOr two and half hours of your time?

Gone Girl is yet another book adaption from director David Fincher. I don’t say that in a derogatory way either; Fincher is one of my favorite modern directors. Let’s run down the list of amazing movies he’s responsible for: Seven, Fight Club, Zodiac, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The man has mastered the eerie, the off, the “there’s something not quite right here.” I wouldn’t consider the man a horror director, but all his movies give me chills.

It’s hard for me to be critical of the man since he’s been entertaining me for the better part of two decades now. And while I am going to be critical of Gone Girl, I’m going to try and push as much blame off of him as possible.

Gone Girl tells the story of the missing anything-but-ordinary housewife Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), and the number one suspect in her disappearance her: husband Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck). This story is filled with many twists and turns and going into any of them would be a disservice to those who are unfamiliar with the plot. This movie is a roller-coaster, and with even slight spoilers it would be absolutely unwatchable.

So what’s wrong with this movie?

Let’s start with the poor editing. Kirk Baxter, who was responsible for the sloppy editing in this movie, has won Academy Awards for his editing in The Social Network, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. So you’d think he was infallible at this point right? Truth is, he co-edited those films with the amazing Angus Wall. This was Kirk’s first major motion picture on his own, and I felt he honestly failed. Awkward jump cuts, poor pacing, a two and a half hour run time, and tacky dissolves are just some of the editing mistakes that are making me call him out.

Secondly, the writing was not great either. Gillian Flynn was the author of the acclaimed book, and while her ending pissed everyone right off, the story was good enough to earn her acclaim. Hiring the author of the book to write the screenplay was an awful idea however. The dialogue was very weak in places, especially the narration done by Amy (Pike). A seasoned screenwriter could have made this film more watchable.

When it comes down to it, I blame this movie not living up to it’s potential on producer Reese Witherspoon (who’s previous producing credits involve Legally Blonde 2, Legally Blonde, and Penelope). Venturing out of her wheelhouse of “cute,” and “funny” chick flicks was a bad idea. Yes, she was good in Walk the Line, but how can you allow Tyler Perry to be cast in anything is beyond me. A better producer would have asked for a shorter and better cut of the film, a revision to the script, maybe adding a writer to it, and better casting decisions.

On the positive side, Affleck was great and so was Carrie Coon who plays Affleck’s twin sister. The score (by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross) will for sure get nominated and win some awards, as it was nearly perfect. It set the mood better than the acting, directing, or cinematography. It was truly chilling at times. Fincher’s directing is of course spot-on, and the cinematography is good enough not to get a gripe from me.

Honestly—if they took the movie they had now and simply cut at least a half an hour out of it I’d be able to over look a lot of these issues. There is actually a great movie hiding in what you’ll see in theaters. Someone just needs to sort it out.

This movie is sadly not worth your money or your frustrations. Sorry David.

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