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Gone Girl hits all the right marks

As a dark seriocomic crime saga that’s every bit an unravelling of a missing persons case as it is of the central couple’s marriage, Gone Girl achieves a delicate balance.

David Fincher’s film fits easily into the mould of his previous works, namely The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network, and Panic Room. He effectively cast Ben Affleck as (hopefully) the worst version of himself, an asshole husband under media scrutiny after his wife goes missing. Rosamund Pike plays the wife, who’s surely the most complexly twisted female character this year.

The film’s music, composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, scores the best of three collaborations with Fincher. It’s an appropriately moody and tense soundtrack that underscores the steady hand of the director’s perfectly paced 149 minutes. The skill level on display here entertains so much that the audience can take for granted the subtlety of the film, for it neither overstays its welcome nor overplays its hand. If there’s any frustration to be had, it’s that the audience is left trying to understand some characters onscreen as much as they are trying to understand each other.

The cast is rounded out nicely by surprise performances from Tyler Perry as a celebrity criminal attorney and Kim Dickens as a detective. The pair make for compelling audience surrogates, yet are interesting in their own right as characters. Each fulfills part of the film’s tricky dark tone and represent masculine and feminine points of view.

Of course, praise must be given to the original author Gillian Flynn, for effectively adapting these characters from her novel to the screen. It takes true mastery to make two actors on opposite sides of both story and gender spectrum feel equal, powerful, and vulnerable. Gone Girl displays that kind of mastery.

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