My first foray into Gillian Flynn’s work was Sharp Objects. I loved that book so much I immediately reread it. Flynn has a great voice, the story was compelling and gritty and I loved every moment. Dark Places was… well, a let down. My friend Cas had been telling me to read Gone Girl, but I was bit soured after Flynn’s second book hadn’t lived up to the first. When I heard Gone Girl was going to be made into a film, I broke down. The book had been sitting on my shelf for almost a year and every so often I’d think I should read that, and pass it up for something else. I started the book and finished it five days later. Holy fuck was I wrong. Gone Girl centers around Nick Dunne and his missing wife, Amy. Nick, of course, is accused of her murder. Things look bad for Nick; hell, things are bad for Nick. A diary filled with damning things, suspicious spending, a “too perfect” crime scene… and a treasure hunt, their anniversary tradition, leading to more than just the traditional gift.
I could not put it down. Well, I did, but it had to be pried out of my hands. I wasn’t expecting the emotional rollercoaster or how angry I’d be and how thoroughly impressed. Once the punches start rolling and the story blossoms into this tangled thicket of thorns and roses, you are HOOKED. I went from hating Nick to feeling sorry for him and that’s not a switch I make often. These characters are wonderfully compelling and the plotline is so clever, it’s sickening.
Seriously, I want to see Flynn’s mind map for this story because it must have taken so much time and energy and planning.
Obviously, I was just as thrilled for the movie. I’d been hearing nothing but excellent things and as I’m sure you know, fellow readers, it’s hard to get your hopes up when there’s a book involved. I admit to being more than a little worried when punk rock me walked into a theatre filled with older couples and moms. I know they billed Gone Girl as a “hot night flick” but… no.
I could not have been happier. The filmography is to die for and they kept a lot of the lines from the book. I cannot praise Rosamund Pike enough as Amy Elliot Dunne. She was brilliant and almost exactly as I’d pictured Amy. Ben Affleck was great as Nick. He really captured the character’s inappropriate charm. Neil Patrick Harris took me by surprise as Desi Collings. I’d seen more as the Ezra Miller type, but NPH was excellent. Subtly dangerous. Slightly creepy.
The only change I was uncertain of was Tyler Perry as Tanner Bolt, but he played the role magnificently. I was a bit sad to see the lack of Tanner’s wife, but they kept the jellybean/gummy bear scene, which I found hilarious in the book. The narrative was spot on, with a slight number of changes to make it work on film. I adored the little vignettes of Amy writing in her diary, the masterful switches in point of view. At 2 hours and 30 minutes, I was worried it would be too long, but I don’t think I’ve seen a more perfect adaptation of book to movie.
The only slight difference was the ending, which didn’t vary from the book as much as I thought it would. It added to the feel. I loved it. Of course I have to spare a moment for the soundtrack, which I bought immediately upon leaving the theatre. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross knocked it out of the fucking ballpark. If you loved the book, you’ll love the movie. If you haven’t read the book, I suggest you do so, but it’s not necessary as long as you know that it’s not a feel-good movie and there are no happy endings. It’s a thriller and I am thrilled I got the chance to see it on the big screen. Nick and Amy are so fucked up and absolutely perfect for each other.
I sat in my seat as the credits rolled and just smiled. I don’t remember ever walking out of a theatre grinning like that, that sort of haughty, deeply self-satisfied smirk. I can’t wait to own it on DVD. This is definitely one you don’t want to miss.