[Book VS. Movie Review] Gone Girl

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Thursday, I spend at my door awaiting for my iPhone 6 to arrive. Physically at my door reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. My printer died and there was no way to print out a signature form.

The movie premiered today directed by David Fincher. David has directed Alien 3, The Game, Se7en, Social Network, the American adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and others.

He is one of my favorite directors so when the trailer dropped I loved it when they announced Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor were doing the soundtrack like they had done with Social Network and all three hours of Dragon Tattoo, it felt perfect.

I hadn’t read the book so with nothing else to do on Thursday, I read it cover to cover. Suffice to say, I finished before my iPhone 6 arrived.

Gone Girl, the novel, written by Gillian Flynn is thriller about newspaper writer Lance Nicolas Dunn and his soon to be wife, Amy, a writer of personality tests. Her psychologists parents are the geniuses behind Amazing Amy, a series of children’s books that made money and thus she has a trust fund.

They marry and the couple live in New York until the recession hits they lose their jobs just in time for to bring Nicolas home to care after his mother who is going through cancer treatments, his father is in a home due to going through Alzheimer’s. Using up the last of Amy’s trust fund money, Nicolas and his twin sister Margo buy a local bar.

During all this, Nicolas gets a job at the local college while Amy is the stay at home wife with little to do and like every anniversary she leaves clues for Nicholas involving their life. It takes a while for Nicolas to figure out the clues since Amy is in the New England vernacular: wicked smart.

Until on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary Amy disappears.

Now, before you say, I know how this movie ends: You don’t.

And I’m not going to ruin it for you. Go read the book first then watch the movie.

The good news is the trailers reveal nothing of the twists and turns of this movie. Often times the trailers do and I groan but not this time.

This a faithful adaptation and doesn’t adhere to the book as much as it needs to. Which is a good thing because the book only has two point of views: Amy and Nic.

The movie has a third point of view, that of Detective Rhonda Boney played by Kim Dickens which solves a few wandering plot threads from the book.

It should be noted Gillian also wrote the screenplay. So the movie feels like a re-polished final draft, in my opinion. While most of the novel is first person the movie dialogue more than makes up for missing beats from the novel. So much so, sometimes the actors are talking too quick.

The police investigation led by Detective Boney begins looking into Nicolas and Amy’s life and the cracks begin to appear from the debt on the credit cards to Amy’s diary entries going from sunny to darker and darker to Nicolas cheating to Amy’s life insurance policy being upped and more. It’s just heaped on.

The only thing neither the movie or the novel can figure out is how to land the dismount and win the gold.

The suspension of disbelief is stretched thin. I’m not talking about Chief Brody in Jaws the movie, shooting the oxygen tank and blowing up the shark, that ending made perfect sense and I cheer every time it happens.

It’s the suspension of disbelief that Tom Cruise’s son survived and magically re-appears at the end of The War of the Worlds so everyone can have a happy ending.

Or as one of the over fifty crowd behind me in the crowded small movie theater said: That was a stupid way to end the movie to which I replied that’s how the book ended, too. She was surprised there was a book.

The actors in the movie are perfect. The direction is spot on. The music is right. The lighting is all David Fincher.

I’ll probably see it again, when I don’t have to sit in the front row.

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