IHAO on ... Gone Girl

David Fincher.  I'm shocked this is the first film of his I've talked about, considering how few I've seen and how well liked he seems to be in the general public.  For me he is a mixed bag.  Se7en is flawless, Fight Club I found incredibly dumb, Social Network was uninteresting and unlikable, Zodiac boring.  I dunno, I guess I respect the dude but just generally haven't cared for his films.  And that isn't particularly his fault, I don't believe.  Fincher seems drawn to very complicated plots and scripts, which I very much like.  But he also doesn't have a great ear for believable characters or dialogue.  I believe he eschews those things and prefers to focus on crafting a thrilling plot.

Gone Girl is no exception to anything I've said above.  I was very lucky to have found a movie friend who can go with me to matinees, which means I can hopefully be seeing a lot more "just out in theaters" films, and I was lucky enough to get a chance to see Gone Girl, which I'm positive will get some Oscar buzz.  Of course, I said that last year with Pain & Gain, so I'm probably super wrong.

Gone Girl is a tremendously tense thriller.  It is filled with complicated characters making difficult decisions, lies, and false public faces.  There are a lot of twists and turns, none of which I will spoil, but let me give a quick basic plot rundown.  A dude, Ben Affleck (who after seeing the film, neither I or my movie friend could remember his character's name, which is bad writing) is an unhappy husband who, on the day of his fifth anniversary, comes home to find his wife missing.  His wife, Amy (played by the phenomenal Rosamund Pike), is a semi-celebrity, being the inspiration for very popular children's books written by her mother, so the crime is immediately followed up on.  But things start to unravel quickly, as the crime ends up being more than originally thought.

The movie is tremendous.  And it is still flawed.  Some of the flaws are super super obvious, like the ridiculous amount of product placement.  And not just reality product placement, like at one point Ben Affleck has a headache, so he puts a Diet Coke to his head, though the logo is covered.  Nah, I'm talking center screen, characters move props to better show logos, ridiculous riDICulous garbage.  It completely junks up the movie around the halfway point and is terribly distracting, especially this one Mountain Dew bottle.  BAH!

On top of that, these characters are ... difficult.  They aren't quite real.  They aren't quite grounded.  That isn't necessarily bad, but it means that a lot of time in Act 1, before the plot really gets moving, we are listening to these not quite believable characters say not quite believable dialogue.  The movie is FILLED with great actors all acting very very well, including Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry of all people.  But the dialogue writing and character choices written in the script boggle my mind a little.  Also, a few plot points are brought up more than once but never followed up on, which was incredibly odd to me.  It makes that dialogue come across as completely useless and a waste of time, and the movie is not short.

So yeah, I said a bunch of bad stuff with some good stuff mixed in, but let me reiterate: this was a phenomenal movie.  The ending is a little odd and might turn some viewers off, but the ride is incredible.  Amazingly enjoyable, and Rosamund Pike just does an amazing job.  I really really enjoyed this film.  I want to watch it at least one more time in an attempt to spot little things in Act 1, now that I know where Act 2 and 3 go.  And I bet you it'll still be a little distracting, and still incredibly engaging.  I would definitely suggest people see the movie.

Grade: A+  ... no, it needs to be a B+ ... oh gosh, this one's hard.  The negatives are just a little too distracting for me, so I'm going with the B+, but that is NOT an easy call to make.

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