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Amazing Amy, Numbskull Nick, And A Gone Girl

Updated on April 5, 2015
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Something's wrong in North Carthage, Missouri, when a popular author disappears in Gone Girl. Rosamund Pike plays the title role, Amy Elliott-Dunne. She's the author of a series of Amazing Amy books for girls. One day, her husband, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck), who also writes and teaches writing, goes to The Bar, a liquor establishment he co-manages with his twin sister Margo (Carrie Coon). The Bar serves as Nick's main source of income. When he comes home one night, Nick finds his door open,with some sign of a disturbance, and no sign of Amy. He notifies the police, who send Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) and Officer Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit) to investigate.

The community mobilizes an effort to find Amy, without result. Crime scene investigators find blood, as well as signs of a struggle and concealment of a crime. Discoveries and revelations about Nick make him seem like the prime suspect. Legal analyst Ellen Abbott (Missi Pyle), who hosts a show about legal affairs, goes as far as to accuse Nick of Amy's murder. When he knows a legal defense will become necessary, Nick hires Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry) as his attorney, and seeks out the men Amy had known before him. After hiring Bolt, he gets to briefly meet couple of men who'd once been acquainted with Amy. Tommy O'Hara (Scoot McNairy) talks about how Amy changed him, while Desi Collings (Neil Patrick Harris) says little before walking away from Nick. Nick, with Tyler's help, gets a TV interview with Sharon Schreiber (Sela Ward) to counter Abbott's accusations. A series of clues, though, leads to evidence of a troubled marriage, as well as an open admission of infidelity from Nick.

Gone Girl, which is based on a novel by Gillian Flynn (who also adapted this work to the big screen), has an interesting mystery with two main characters I couldn't stand. Nick is a womanizer, and Amy withholds more than sex. Director David Fincher, who's no stranger to films that dare viewers to ignore the plot twists in his films, does grab the audience with the disappearance. However, Fincher paces the movie far too slowly. This not only enhanced my lack of interest in Nick and Amy, I also started to wish the digital projector would have found a way to break. Fincher's done better in films like Se7en and The Social Network, where the least likeable people have a more compelling agenda than the leads in Gone Girl. Thankfully, I wasn't the only one grumbling when the film ended.

I won't complain about the acting, though. Affleck and Pike are convincing as affluent jerks. When Nick isn't cheating on Amy, he's doing exactly what he's told. Amy complains in her diary about living in Missouri. Coon's Margo, though, is a sympathetic character, who, at one point, gets accused of being Nick's co-conspirator when Amy vanishes, and gets blindsided when Nick's affair becomes known. I also like Dickens who comes to conclusions based on facts - and sometimes has to remind Officer Gilpin about that. Perry and Pyle are fun their parts as a litigator and a Nancy Grace-like commentator, respectively. Casey Wilson is also funny as Noelle Hawthorne, the friendly, busy-body neighbor of the Dunnes who has a story to tell, but attracts no listeners.

At one point in Gone Girl, Nick talks about the treasure hunts Amy used to have. There was a similar hunt for me regarding this movie, but I hardly call what I found a treasure. Nick and Amy had grown tired of one another through the years. They often spent time getting back at one another while putting on a facade of civility. They put on a sad spectacle as spoiled adults who never learned to deal with the hard times they'd have to face as adults. Their behavior made me wonder how they would ever find any kind of true happiness with someone else. Amy is indeed a gone girl, and all I have to say once her tale is done is good riddance.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Gone Girl two stars. An unsatisfying search.

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