“Them two deserve each other.”
That was the epitaph administered
by a fellow movie-goer upon our departing the theater after “Gone Girl.”
And despite the grammar lapse, I think the man
had a good point about this movie:
the two main protagonists are very complex, and
difficult to love. But
they take us on a roller coaster ride, anyway.
Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne with
his trademark alternation of charming earnestness and diffident insouciance.
Nick tells us the story of how he and his wife
met, and fell in love, and he will be the first to tell you that she brought
out the best in him. When
he was around her, he just wanted to please her, and say the kind of things
she wanted to hear, and be the kind of person she wanted to be in relationship
that, he was extraordinarily successful:
he charmed her right down the wedding aisle.
But there’s a price to pay for
“putting on a persona” around your beloved:
at the end of the day, you’re not really that
person, and soon who you really are is going to come out, and some of that
will be unlovely. It
turns out that Amy Dunne, played with convincing ferocity by Rosamund Pike, is
not actually the winsome, giggly, lighthearted, sexy seducer that she
consistently portrayed to Nick while they were courting.
As he became embroiled in his work, and she
became increasingly frustrated about not being able to conceive a child, she
found herself feeling that she was disappearing, somehow.
She found herself ruminating in a very frank
handwritten diary, and thinking about previous boyfriends, and indulging in
some nostalgia about her childhood, which, it turns out, was uniquely public:
it seems her parents were very successful
children’s book writers who made her the star, and seemingly the whole
country watched her charming cartoon self grow up.
But of course, that wasn’t the real her; only a
whimsical fictionalized idealized version, which she still carries around, and
even occasionally attempts to portray.
Now add to the drama her sudden disappearance,
and the media circus accompanying it, as he calls the police, and goes public
begging for help in looking for her,
’s childhood sweetheart, but even that is not all that it
the police begin to suspect him, and the fickle public turns against him.
It turns out that Nick Dunne does have some nasty
secrets of his own, which he kept even from his twin sister, Margo (Carrie
Coon), who’s maybe the only one who loves him exactly as he is, scoundrel
Kim Dickens, as Detective Rhonda
Boney, is memorable in her nuanced role as the skeptical sympathetic
story, following the wildly popular (and mesmerizing) novel by Gillian Flynn,
wraps the viewers in a web of intrigue and discovered secrets.
Though it’s interesting to watch, at the end,
there’s nobody to root for here, as everybody is flawed, sometimes fatally,
but mostly by disappointing degree.
So the anonymous one-liner critic
had it right: “Them
two deserve each other.”
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Parish
Associate, Woodhaven Presbyterian Church,