Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl stirred up a lot of hype as Flynn has been a hot new author on the rise with her chilling and disturbing mystery thrillers. With Gone Girl scoring a Hollywood adaptation, rumors began swirling a plot twist was in-store for the conclusion. I was not entirely surprised by this news as jarring plot twists are Flynn’s thing, and when doesn’t the movie industry feel the need to change things for entertainment?
With movies, it is all about what is going to be the most dramatic, so very often we watch our favorite novels get face lifts. Some books will undergo dramatic plot changes, completely changing the emotion at the end of the story—see/watch My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. Some characters go through complete makeovers when maybe their original appearance had a lot to do with their personality. Authors write their stories a certain way for a reason, which maybe I feel more strongly about as a literary person, but when a film stays true to its novel I appreciate it more.
Out of Flynn’s three published books, all equally a bit of a head-trip, Gone Girl fell to the bottom of my favorites list due to the ending. Sure the conclusion left my mouth hanging open, but not in a good way. “Where was the justice, the resolution?” I silently cried. It would be silly to expect everything to end wrapped nicely in a bow; happy endings are not exactly the style of this author. Still, what happened was the last thing I expected.
One could argue the most unforeseen ending is an ingredient for a great film, but after all the build-up and Amy’s antics, as a reader I craved validation against the psycho. A psychiatrist doesn’t officially give Amy the psycho title, but it’s safe to say she meets many criteria under the category. You may or may not feel differently toward wine bottles after viewing the film (this scene is included in the book too, but actual visuals stick in the mind stronger).
As the credits rolled onto the screen, seeing that Flynn wrote the screenplay assured me that I was in for a great film. The film followed the book so closely that I actually found myself getting bored because the storyline was still fresh enough in my mind. I enjoyed watching it play out in front of me, but I knew what to expect at every turn.
Overall, the film could have done a better job at portraying the downfall of Nick and Amy’s marriage. Fincher portrays the Dunnes as a happy couple whose relationship fell into a rough patch, whereas the novel details their unhappiness, weaving together a dark narrative that doubles as a character study.
Ben Affleck gave a great performance as Nick Dunne, Initially, I felt he was the wrong choice, but after I saw his performance I realized he was expertly casted. Rosamund Pike gave a flawless performance as Amy Dunne. Her fragile physique and soft features made her feigned innocence believable. Together, Affleck and Pike expertly portray the Dunne’s warped and toxic relationship.
Ironically enough, Gone Girl has been referred to as the “date night movie of the decade,” despite its problematic message about marriage. The film stays true to Flynn’s novel but in a much less twisted way. The ending was less satisfying than the novel. [SPOILER] Fincher insinuates that Nick stays with Amy, in spite of her psychopathic tendencies.
The silver lining in both the novel and the film’s ending is the potential for a sequel. Usually sequels are not something I get excited about, but this is a story I need to know the ending to. Will they eventually rip each other’s heads off or is it possible for them to reach solid ground? The Dunnes’ relationship is one of those trainwrecks you cannot look away from. If they were real people I would definitely Facebook stalk them.
Gillian Flynn’s ability to tell a captivating story even if it doesn’t go how you hoped is one reason she is a great author. She keeps the reader on their toes, pulling them into different worlds.
The subject matter may not be for everyone, but if you like psychological mind games and passionately warped relationships, you will get lost in her stories. In most cases the novel always wins over the film, which is the result here, but David Fincher’s adaptation of Gone Girl will leave you speechless either way.