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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Gone Girl | Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry | Review

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Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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Gone Girl | Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, David Clennon, Lisa Banes, Patrick Fugit, Tyler Perry, Sela Ward, Missi Pyle | Review

During the course of director David Fincher’s current film, Gone Girl, Ben Affleck's character, Nick Dunne, is proclaimed to be "the most hated man in America." And we're not even talking Daredevil here.

Nick's been accused of the disappearance and murder of his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike), missing since the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary. Nick's no saint, as established in flashbacks where, unemployed, he lazes away afternoons with beer and video games. He's romantically involved with the young and immature Andie (Emily Ratajkowski) much to the chagrin of Margo (Carrie Coon) his sometimes ambivalent but devoted twin sister.

When Amy disappears, he also garners the attention of Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) and wildly suspicious police officer Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit) Damning clues pile up; a media circus ensues.

Amy and Nick are writers, both recently unemployed.  Her parents (David Clennon and Lisa Banes) are authors of a series of popular children's books called Amazing Amy, in which their daughter is featured as a youthful heroine.

The couple’s marriage sours rapidly compared to their rapturous courtship, turning from admiration to resentment in a few short years. Amy’s disappearance casts an ominous spotlight on Nick, who has been and still is, in her financial shadow.  A recently purchased insurance policy on Amy’s life doesn’t help matters.

Nick mentions other suspects like Amy's former suitors Tommy O’Hara (Scoot McNairy) and ultra rich Desi Collings (Neil Patrick Harris) but the police and the media concentrate on him as the only neck in an ever-tightening noose.

Ben Affleck, always adept at playing a regular guy, is a natural as the conflicted, weary, morally-challenged suspect. Rosamund Pike's usually blank, icy countenance shows a range here like never before, eliciting (to her credit) audible viewer reaction.  Carrie Coon’s Margo is the kind of loyal, salt-of-the-earth sister we'd all like to have. Patrick Neil Harris, in a role that’s both sympathetic and off-putting, is a surprising side dish in this peppery cinematic entree.

Tyler Perry’s role as ace defense attorney Tanner Bolt injects some confidence in a story full of uncertainty, and Sela Ward and Missi Pyle luxuriate in their roles as media vultures – talk show hostesses that feed on the story for its sensational, scandal-filled speculations and ratings bait.

Director David Fincher (The Social Network) devotes 2 1/2 hours to the unfolding of a complex tale of insinuation without a hint of salvation.  Although the film loses a bit of steam in the second half, it leaves the viewer with lots to chew on.

Based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the screenplay, Gone Girl is an almost too clichéd set of circumstances punched in the gut with a blatant, in-your-face twist that nearly stings from the impertinence of it all.

Harboring any hopes of a tidy resolution? Consider them gone.


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