I was one of the millions who bought, read, and loved the book Gone Girl. It was even the subject of one of my book club sessions, in which my group of girlfriends cast the fictional movie. Not so fictional anymore—the movie adaptation opens in theaters this Friday, Oct. 3.
I adored the Gillian Flynn thriller, which has sold 6.5 million copies, according to the Chicago Tribune. I thought her story about Amy Dunne, a wife who disappears, and Nick Dunne, the husband who may or may not have killed her, was exciting and modern, written in a way that every single woman I know who read it was enthralled. There are still times my friends and I discuss the "cool girl" syndrome that Flynn's main character Amy describes so well. All of this is to say, I was skeptical the movie wouldn't satisfy in the way the book so wonderfully satisfied.
Well, it did.
I watched it at the New York Film Festival's opening night event last Friday, Sept. 26, which marked Gone Girl's world premiere. The entire cast—including Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, Rosamund Pike as Amy Dunne, and Emily Ratajkowski as Andie—walked onto the stage to introduce the highly anticipated flick. The feeling in the packed theater was excitement and slight trepidation—no one really knew what they were in for, and the expectations for director David Fincher (of The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Fight Club) were high.
It delivered. If you read the book, you'll love the movie, I venture to predict. Take this for comparison: In The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, also directed by Fincher, my only complaint is that it stayed too true to the book which led to a few areas that fell a little flat. Gone Girl deviates from Flynn's novel only so slightly to make it even more exciting. I think that's because Flynn wrote the screenplay herself. There is no giant twist at the ending that so many people have been talking about. It's just slightly different and slightly more believable in an unbelievable kind of way.
I must admit, the scene with Desi (Neil Patrick Harris), if you remember from the book, was so intense I found myself looking away and closing my ears. It was exactly as I had imagined it. Pike's narration of Amy's diary was eerily creepy in a waking-dead kind of way, done to perfection. Affleck, who seemed like an odd casting at first, delivered as the detached husband who just may have killed his wife. He was the most surprising of all—he played a jerk, a funny guy, and a brilliant manipulator all in one shot, and he was the most fun to watch.
The movie is two and a half hours and the time flew by. You won't be bored. You won't think about anything else. I actually found myself waking up the next morning—after the Patron-filled after-party at Tavern on the Green—still thinking about the movie. It stays with you if you've read the book, you keep thinking about how the scenes you imagined played out on screen.
I have seen the movie described as a black comedy, and it's true. While the subject is life and death at its core, Flynn's screenplay applies that theme to everything: social status, occupations, and ultimately marriage. The jokes about what marriage is and who you have to be for your spouse evoked the loudest cackles in the theater. You leave thinking: What is marriage except the most giant con of all?