On ‘Gone Girl’ the Movie

First, this will have spoilers about Gone Girl.

Second, I have not read the book. I don’t know anything about the book. I honestly didn’t really know anything about the story except that it involved the disappearance of a woman. I knew this because I had seen a trailer for the movie. This is an unspoiled review of the film, only.

I am going to defer my five word review to the woman who was sitting in front me in the theater. Her five word review as the credits began to roll sums up my feelings about the film: “What? Nah. Fuck this shit.”

Over the past 10 years, the movie that most had me laughing in belly-rumbling abandon was G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. The astute among you will note that this was not a comedy.  It was, in fact, an action film. However, it hit every action film trope and cliche perfectly. It was so perfect, it had to be self-aware. But, it never winked and nodded. You couldn’t actually tell if it was self-aware. It was the ultimate action film poe. There’s a part of me that hopes Gone Girl is the crime drama equivalent, and it may well have pulled off a poe. However, as it turns out, that poe is just stupid and boring. And, oddly, predictable.

This movie feels like all the stupid, made-up stories Men’s Right’s Movement guys tell themselves about why feminism is evil. Psycho woman who is all sex-obsessed gets bitter and angry when the money stops rolling in. Her husband cheats on her, so she freaks out and stages a fake crime to get her husband legally put to death. She justifies her actions with a feminist manifesto spoken while judging other women. She lies, cheats, and even murders. Most importantly, she has a manipulative track record because she had previously ruined another man’s life by lying about being raped by him. She ticks all the boxes. And, to top it off, Ben Affleck even says he’s tired of being used by women.

I’m pretty certain this wasn’t the intended plot, but this is what we get. Ben Affleck comes off like the titular character of Everybody Loves Raymond except he cheats on his wife, and we actually see him having sex. Rosamund Pike’s character is an unmotivated psychopath. Infidelity hurts but, come on, am I really supposed to believe that’s her motivation?

I suspect that Ben Affleck is supposed to be more unlikable; however, he is nothing more than a jackass. He cheats on his wife and tells a bunch of lies to the young woman with whom he’s having the affair. He dumps the young woman to the side when he realizes people are fingering him for his wife’s disappearance, but that’s the worst of it. There’s nothing to like, but he’s not evil. At times he even seems conflicted and regretful. Rosamund Pike’s character weaves an intricate and well-planned story with the goal of getting her husband killed by death-penalty for a crime he didn’t commit. In the end, she sees Ben Affleck act the kind of husband she wants, so she kills another man to weave another story to return to her marriage. Oh, and remember, she previously ruined another man’s life by lying that he raped her. He’s not likable, but she’s fucking evil. I mean, the movie has some viscerally violent moments and crude lines, but they all come from Pike’s character.

There’s a part in the film when Ben Affleck figures out that she’s manipulating things to get him convicted of her murder. At this point, he decides to fight back. You think there’s going to be this proxy war played out via the media but, again, the two sides are so imbalanced. The only likable characters are on Ben Affleck’s side, and they genuinely care about Affleck’s character. Highest among them is Affleck’s twin sister, Margot. When shit gets real, Margot is put in harms way as a possible accomplice. The story basically devolves into Psycho Slut vs. Jackass and his Merry Band.

I recall the book being well received. It supposedly had a genuinely good story. I can only assume that there was something in the book missing in the movie. This movie was stupid, cliched, and uninteresting. The twists weren’t compelling. They were just a psychopath doing another psychopath kind of thing. So what. Based on the film, I’d guess the point is to revel in just how psychopathic Rosamund Pike’s character is. But I’ve read that book and seen that movie: American Psychopath.

Gone Girl has its moments. The story feels like it could have been intriguing. However, none of that pans out. Instead, I just felt cheated. Or, to quote the woman in front of me: What? Nah. Fuck this shit.

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One comment

  1. Michelle at The Green Study · October 7, 2014

    I was referred the book, but after reading the book jacket synopsis, I knew it didn’t appeal to me. I hate tropes, but I especially dislike this trend in media where the protagonists are completely unlikable or are genuinely bad human beings.

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