When I first watched the trailer of David Fincher’s highly anticipated adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestseller Gone Girl, it left me jittery for the rest of the day. It’s been 6 hours now as I begin to write about the film, and I still can’t shake off how easy it was for Fincher to manipulate me into believing what I saw.

Gone Girl begins in the seemingly perfect village in Missouri where the Dunne’s, living an almost too perfect marriage, also reside. On their 5th anniversary, Nick Dunne (played by Ben Affleck) returns home from an early morning visit to the bar he runs with his sister to find his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) missing and what looks like a crime scene instead. What happens next will literally blow your mind away (if you haven’t already read the book).

Now I had a theory some years back related to movies. This doesn’t apply to erotic movies like Y Tu Mama Tambien but if an actress’ breasts are clearly visible without an undeniable demand for it in any scene in a competently made drama (eg: Titanic), she is definitely not the one our hero is supposed to end up with. Either it’s just a passing relationship (Eg: Serpico), or she turns out to be not such a lovable character as initially portrayed (Eg: The Wolf Of Wall Street). I remember watching Fernando Meirelles’ brilliant thriller-drama The Constant Gardener with this very mindset, and the way the director and Rachel Weisz manipulated me into navigating the morality of her character (pun not intended) based on my ‘theory’ blew me away. I swore I will stop believing my eyes and look for other minute things that are too coincidental to be intended to decipher a similar tale the next time.

That’s until David Fincher decided to direct Gone Girl, of course. The way David Fincher plays with a smart viewer (apologies for sounding pompous, but I do pride myself as a rather smart viewer) is simply exquisite. I really don’t want to divulge any more and take away the fun off this ping pong match of moralities in a decaying marriage.

Affleck and Pike create completely relatable characters who you almost feel you might turn into one day, and Affleck brings all his directorial instinct to a performance that can be called the perfect mix of first rate star persona and a skill set full of acting chops. Rosamund Pike gives us one of the most memorable characters in Amy Dunne in recent years, and might even land an Oscar nod for her bravura performance. A special mention of Tyler Perry as Tanner Bolt, who makes the movie feel familiar with his hilarious ‘Hollywood’ punch lines. The camera work is typical Fincher gold level, and so is the editing. I have not read the book yet, but I don’t regret it simply because I know it must have lacked the background score provided by Trent Raznor and Atticus Ross. Their score, comfortably creepy, confounds you, unsettling you to ‘think’ and I don’t think Gone Girl would have been the masterpiece without their score.

I urge people who haven’t yet read the book to not do so before watching the movie. And to those who have, can someone lend me a copy? I am dying to read it.

Overall Rating – 4.5/5

P.S. The film had Emily Ratajkowski in a nude scene as well, which sadly has been cropped out.