“What are you thinking? How are you feeling? What have we done to each other?”
It is impossible to sit with a straight brow when Nick Dunne, the protagonist of David Fincher’s ‘Gone Girl’, adapted from Gillian Flynn’s eponymous novel, mouths these lines during the opening of the film, looking at his wife, calling them “the primal questions of marriage.” I, for one, am petrified as a man at the possibility of inhabiting the same space with any one of the female protagonists from Gillian Flynn’s fertile imagination. To be calling them demented, or sociopathic, or even psychopathic would simply be euphemizing the unsettling brilliance of these characters, and to the kind of complex yarn Flynn has spun them out from.
Having recently watched ‘Sharp Objects’, an HBO limited series based on Flynn’s novel of the same name, I admit that it was a nightmare revisiting Amy Elliott Dunne in ‘Gone Girl’. It is true when they say that ‘Gone Girl’ is possibly among the worst movies you could pick for watching on a date night. The film, simultaneously working as a deconstruction of modern marriages and media sensationalization in the current day and age also presents a frighteningly real picture that makes you paranoid and uneasy, while it may also go on to unnerve a thing or two in your relationship. Consider yourself warned!
What makes Gone Girl click, perhaps most, (not counting its obvious credits as a well-made film and a taut thriller), is that we have all been there. We have all been part of a manipulative relationship, stuck with a manipulative partner, or been cheated upon wherein all hell broke loose once the masks of normalcy were shed. While watching the film, Nick Dunne’s plight makes you feel for him, just as you feel for Amy when Nick’s affair is revealed, even looking for reasons to justify Amy’s twisted plan for revenge against Nick. The end is where all comes undone, and Amy does something the equivalent of what Nick could never have pulled off. I know of at least a dozen guys who turned and looked at their girlfriends in disbelief, looking at Amy’s antics on screen. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” could have then perhaps served as a better marketing line for the film.
‘Gone Girl’ is a story of the trials and tribulations that a couple, Nick and Amy Dunne go through in their young marriage. With all things breezy at first, life eventually hits hard and things spiral out of control as problems in their marriage and individual selves surface. With money problems at the helm and a failing marriage, Nick cheats on Amy with his young student, to which Amy decides to exact revenge by mysteriously disappearing one day and leaving an elaborately planned plot that unravels in her wake, sure to land Nick in prison for the murder of his wife, or penalised by death. The unraveling of the plan in brilliant fashion and Amy’s return when her plan doesn’t work out the way she’d hoped it would, form the major and best bits of this dark thriller.