3 Stars – Challenging
Gillian Flynn has transformed her chilling novel into an equally chilling film demonstrating that the consequences of sinful behavior can leave you in a state of hell.
Gone Girl is a murder mystery without a singular victim. Instead, everyone becomes a victim. Nick Dunne (Ben Afflick) and his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) are approaching their fifth wedding anniversary living in a marriage that has gone from passion to a consuming state of bare tolerance. On the day of their anniversary Amy disappears and over the next few days and weeks Nick goes from being the confused spouse seeking the help of local police to a national figure being vilified in the media tabloids as a possible philanderer and wife murderer on the scale of O.J. Simpson.
The question on the mind of the public is whether or not she is still alive and did he know anything about it? What does he say to her family? What does he say to his own family? Do the police believe his story?
What really happens has as many twists and turns as a country back road. The bigger question raised by Gone Girl is, how much do you really know about your spouse? Are there hidden thoughts and behaviors that can lead someone you thought you knew to do evil acts in order to get what they want?
Nick and Amy are not the models for a healthy relationship. Building your life on the shifting sands of physical attraction and shared interests in superficial events is sure to collapse without a stronger foundation. What gives this story its strength is its revealing capacity to uncover the depths of depravity that can lie beneath the surface of individuals who live in a world void of spiritual maturity and commitment.
Afflick and Pike give some of the best performances of their careers, taking the viewers into a world similar to Fatal Attraction in its exposure of psychopathic behavior. Other performances also give this story great color, including Carrie Coon as Nick’s sister Margo Dunne, Neil Patrick Harris as Desi Collings, the equally toxic ex-boyfriend of Amy, and Tyler Perry as the infamous attorney-to-the-stars, Tanner Bolt. In terms of a murder mystery, it is first rate. In terms of values expressed and shared, it is toxic.
It is sobering to realize that a large number of marriages today collapse because their foundations are built on weak assumptions and values. If you are prone to making similar choices, this film may not represent the depths of hell that you might experience down the line, but it will certainly cause you to realize that hell maybe the ultimate place where you are going to spend a lot of time!
- A film that demonstrates the consequences of evil is often called a “morality tale.” Do you find this film to be effective in warning people? Why do you answer as you do?
- It is difficult to imagine someone you trust as much as a spouse having evil intents toward you. Have you experienced such a betrayal of trust? How did your heal from such a trauma?
- The ripple effect of evil is clearly seen in this film. How do you protect yourself from evil in your life?
Cinema In Focus is a social and spiritual movie commentary. Hal Conklin is former mayor of Santa Barbara and Denny Wayman is pastor of the Free Methodist Church. For more reviews: www.cinemainfocus.com.