Director: David Fincher
Writers: Gillian Flynn (screenplay), Gillian Flynn (novel)
Stars: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens
It's been three whole years since Fincher's last (average for my taste) film "The girl with the dragon tattoo", but we had the pleasure to see him work for television in the addictive "House of Cards" Netflix series, unfortunately only in two episodes! Well, he is an executive producer, so we guess he soon will be joining the directors chair again.
David Fincher has returned to his good old ways with some slight changes - towards perfection, let me add - in the way he sees human relationships and the evil that surrounds them. The story comes from the novel of Gillian Flynn - who also wrote the screenplay - and talks about Nick, an average guy, who wakes up one morning only to discover his wife Amy missing.
Nick is supposed to be in distress, instead he is acting detached like an observer and while he is trying to figure out what the heck is going on, the basic narrative splits up in two revealing Amy's voice, who talks like a ghost from the past through the diaries she left behind. We suddenly witness two different lines of narrative that build up the story with great drama and suspense. You have Nick's side of the story and Amy-from-the-past story. Nick is frustrated and has to deal with both the police, who intensively suspect him, the parents - famous snobby writers - and the media - hungry for indecency.
Nick is in the spotlight and he hates it. What has he done to deserve this? He lingers in memories and good old feelings from when they met, when they married and when they both imagined a happy shared life. Amy is helping on that with her narrative. But something went wrong during those years. Or perhaps something was already wrong from the beginning.
Ben Affleck manages to convey both the detachment and the fear of the character, but also to create a purely doubtful profile. Rosamund Pike has this delicate face and performs as she was waiting to play this character all her life. Raw and dark performances, just how we like it in Fincher's universe.
The media of the country hunt him down and Nick becomes suddenly part of a media frenzy he can't avoid. A criticism on today's media for the continuous crave for the obscene is one of Fincher's points in this film. It is the obvious one. The other one is much more disturbing. How all of this attraction to obscenity derives from human nature. This is what he claims here. He puts our nature in the spot and acknowledges how drawn we are by the deepest and darkest parts of it.
Through the split narrative and the flashbacks in time, a mosaic of baffled circumstances is created about Amy's disappearance and possible murder, making the whole story even more intriguing, even more complicated. Multiple questions ran through your brain and you are struggling to find the answers that might reveal the reasons of those people's actions.
This slow-boiling thriller displays an intense and raw direction from Fincher, who is considered the master of twisted turns in the stories he deals with and who knows very well how to deal with his characters. Amy knows all of Nick's secrets, thoughts, moves. He is exposed. Nick understands very deeply his wife. Do they really know each other? Do they trust each other? The depth of their disturbed relationship emerges to the surface with amazing perplexity.
Fincher knows extremely well how to manipulate a story and how to create real feelings for the characters. How their behavior is so contagiously affecting and how you as a viewer enter so deep into their reality. You get lost and confused by the ardent actions of those people. You become part of their story whether you like it or not. You can't escape. This is what Fincher does to you.
One of the greatest things of this movie, in which you don't expect anything less than an absolute mind-fuck, is the fact of misconception and how in a glimpse of an eye, everything changes. Nothing is what it seems. Unfortunately I can't say more, because I will ruin the film experience for you, but one thing I can say is the supreme greatness with which Fincher deals with his material and how he achieves this deep connection with the characters, so at the end you actually like those bastards, those sociopaths, those weirdos, those nasty nasty people.
When you see this movie, be prepared to dive into a world of mischief and games. Games that can reveal more than you ever thought about the people around you, but mostly about yourself.