Cool Girls, Smug Guys, and the Full Affleck: Let’s Talk About ‘Gone Girl’

Ah, yes. Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. The book that has been read, dissected, and discussed by every book group in America. It stole sleep from people who just wanted to race through to the end. It ruined vacations. It was the topic of water-cooler chatter in offices.

Now that David Fincher’s movie adaptation is out (with a screenplay by Flynn), there’s even more to discuss. Shall we?

Obviously, there are many severe Gone Girl spoilers beyond this point.

Some points of discussion:

–I generally enjoyed it a lot, but my biggest gripe is that the movie seems a little soft on Nick Dunne. Since Amy’s diary entries are truncated in the beginning, you lose a lot of her point of view before the big reveal happens and it’s clear that she’s crazy. Also, the book gives you the sense that Nick is hiding or withholding information from you, which makes him more suspect. In the movie, you think it was shitty that he cheated, but you’re basically on his side the whole time. The book version of Nick makes him seem like more of an active jerk. I would’ve liked to have seen that more in the movie, especially since it’d be so easy to coax out of Affleck.

–Speaking of, what do you think of casting? Affleck and Pike were both aces, in my opinion. I was a little less sold on NPH, who seemed to me to be cartoonier than the rest of the movie, like he was a fustier Barney Stinson. I was also surprised by how much I liked Tyler Perry, considering I have no interest in his movies since I’m not really into melodrama. Perry is not a melodramatic actor.

–Where does Gone Girl fall in the David Fincher oevre? I found the central mystery more compelling than The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The story was tighter, too, and I found it more interesting than The Social Network in the way it deals with flawed or unlikable characters. It didn’t put knots in my stomach the way Zodiac did, though, and it wasn’t as stylish or as crazy as Fight Club or The Game. I guess that’s a long way of saying I’d put it somewhere in the middle.

–Holy shit, Patrick Fugit is an adult?

–Was there humor in the book? I don’t really remember. But Amy’s brush-off of the detective — “Can I get back to the part where I was being held captive?” — made me laugh. So did, “Should I know my wife’s blood type?”

–So many little visual jokes, too! My favorite was the first shot of Nick, carrying the “Mastermind” board game. Amazing. I also thought it was funny that Amy was brushing her teeth with Aim toothpaste, since that’s what Nick called her. And did anyone else notice that they had a lot of framed pressed flowers in their house, a la Dragon Tattoo?

–The surprise appearance by Scoot McNairy is, as always, very welcome.