October 28, 2014

Gone Girl (2014)

Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry

Even if you're a person who doesn't mind spoilers, trust me - this is one movie you do not want to know the ending to. I know this because I actually read the book. So watching this movie lost quite a big portion of its appeal, seeing as it's a mystery and all.

The book is split into three parts: Part I is so intense you can't put it down; Part II is when the story really unfolds; Part III was disappointing. As in, it sunk the book from being excellent to mediocre. A story is only as strong as its ending, as we all learning from watching Unknown.

The movie spends the majority of its time on Part I, which is smart because it's really the most compelling part of the story and what hooks you into the story. Part II, while interesting, has been condensed into the highlights through a tidy little summary. But where the movie really shines is through its portrayal of Part III. It keeps the same ending, but somehow makes it less... lame. The pacing of this movie is just very well done by focusing its time on the best parts of the book and keeping the disappointing portions mercifully short.

It's difficult to say much more about the movie without giving away key plot points, but I will say it does an excellent job with casting. Ben Affleck draws on his qualities of being attractive but approachable while simultaneously keeping enough smarmy to make you wonder if he is, in fact, a murderer. Neil Patrick Harris, despite looking nothing like I imagined the character would while reading the book, manages to be a complete scene stealer and lends an additional layer of creepiness to the movie. And Tyler Perry doesn't dress up as a woman, so that's a bonus.

I also like Rosamund Pike. Likely because she played Jane in my beloved Pride and Prejudice, but whatever. I like her look. And considering the pleasant but simple characters she plays in Pride and Prejudice, An Education, and Barney's Version, her transformation into a a complex lead here is both well executed and long overdue. Do I think someone else could have done a better job? Possibly. But Pike brings an understated quiet and dignity to the role that is good in its own right.

Final word: Not only an improvement on the book, but a better movie if you've never read the book in the first place.

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