Saturday, October 25, 2014

When Your Lover Has Gone (Book & Film Review: Gone Girl)

It seems like everyone and their mother have read Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl" and it has been on my TBR pile for two years now. Well, with the movie coming out, I told myself that I would finally finish reading it, as I have started numerous times but never continued. Well, it does start just a bit slow for me - the mystery part seems a bit too "set up" and manipulative. Though not uninteresting, it tested my patience. But once it hit the half-way mark, though, it sparkled. Then it became one of those books you stayed up in the night for. Last night, I zipped through the latter half of the book - a true page-turner. I couldn't wait to see what would happen to the characters, how the "mystery" would be resolved. I was torn between hating and admiring the character of Amy, while also sympathizing with her husband, Nick. And yes, the story is over the top and Flynn definitely knew how to get your attention. I don't know if I really agreed or not with the ending, but I understand it as a social commentary for today's society.

I don't know if it was a good idea to see the movie mere hours after finishing the book, but I just couldn't let go of the story just yet. As good as the book was, the film is better. Maybe it was an advantage that while I was reading the book, I was already picturing Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as the characters, and I must say that they did perfect casting for the roles. Affleck is smooth and likeable, earthy with an edge, and totally relatable. Pike has a great mix of beauty and danger, and just the right amount of self-awareness as well as a wink-wink to not take herself (and the character) too seriously. And Fincher understands how over the top the book was, and playing this up without going too caricaturish. Flynn wrote the screenplay herself and while there have been changes and cuts, have stayed more or less faithful to the spirit of the book. I can't think of any choice I disagreed with. If for anything, the movie even broadened its message, on how relationships thrive, survive, and endure in the recession-riddled times of today. The mystery part of the story is just as satisfying - a man behind me was saying, "This is like Hitchcock" - but I found this more a love story- a sick and twisted one.

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