By Darin Skaggs

David Fincher has had quite a career making such classics like Fight Club, Seven and The Game.  His career of late has been more tone down; there is not much gore or murder/mystery elements to them.  Though those ventures have still been fantastic; The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  His new film Gone Girl, much like his best film Zodiac, combine these two steps in Fincher’s career to make another well-made thriller.

Gone Girl stars Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, whose opening line while staring at his wife’s head goes to the effect of “What are you thinking? Sometimes I just want to bash your head open just to see what you’re thinking.”   The next scene which is titled as “The Morning Of” we see him visit his bar where he works with his sister.  He gets a call from a neighbor about his cat, heads home to find his wife missing, furniture knocked over and no other evidence.  The police come and investigate.  Nick is calm and doesn’t seem to be worried about anything making him a lead suspect in the investigation of his missing wife.

Fincher’s last effort, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was a good mystery thriller but really fell apart near the end.  This is a real return to greatness for Fincher.  The rest of the film is spent wondering what happen to the wife and then comes some of the best twist and turns put to screen in a long time.  This film is so tense and captivating because of the mix of the score, acting and directing.  They cast actors like Tyler Perry and Neil Patrick Harris as supporting characters to lighten the tension a bit and the one who shines the most may surprise you.  There is a big element of this film that could have destroyed it and it seems the filmmakers knew it so they threw in some comedy, intrigue and clues to keep you guessing who-done-it.

That big element that only hurts the film slightly is this film is a big bummer.  The larger theme in this film is a very, very cynical look at marriage.  There are flashbacks to the “Honeymoon stage” of these people’s relationship and they are happy, but the film says the passage of time and human instinct takes over and all the bliss blows away.  By the end of the film you realize Fincher is emoting all his feelings of being trapped in this little prison called life.  It is such a mood killer that you will probably leave a little more depressed than you were before, but maybe that’s the point.

The film’s acting all around should be interesting around Oscar season with not a rotten one in the bunch.  It will bum you out a bit but it is still a great mystery with fantastic twists, so it won’t disappoint.  For Fincher’s career it is an instant classic and one of the best films of the year.


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