Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
Reviewed By

L. Sue
This is probably one of the most difficult reviews to write without completely spoiling the whole movie. While yes, most of the reviews are written with the pretense that the reader has watched the movie, this movie requires a next level,  a kind of Crying Game spoiler.  Much has been made of the movie's plot twists, and I concur I didn't see the ending coming. But to delve into that there are nothing but spoilers that will be discussed, and certainly there is something else that can be discussed beforehand? Something that isn't completely about plot twists, or centered on the divisive ending?

One such safe topic then is the casting choice of Ben Affleck and this whole notion of fame. No stranger to high praise, negative backlash and all around media scrutiny himself, one can't but help feel that at some point art was imitating life. We the public are fickle, one moment we're hating you, the next we love you, and sometimes we can move back to the hate.  Fame is tricky, and we claim to abhor it, till it comes knocking on our door and then we hope it stays a while. Is Nick actually seeking this fame? And  what about Amy's parents? Something had happened between Amy and them, some truth that I'm left searching for. The fictional Amazing Amy led a charmed life that the real life Amy resented. But did the desire for one more story, one in which real life Amy bested Amazing Amy lead her down this path? Allusions were made to the Amazing Amy line being dropped, (semi spoiler) was this all one big ploy by the parents to generate more book sales? To what lengths will we go to keep that spotlight on us, and at what price? Nick says he will stay till the vans leave, but we don't see the vans leaving….do they ever leave?

The highs and lows of fame are at the mercy of public opinion. We live in a world where perception is reality, if we perceive you to be responsible for the crime, whether or not you actually did it is irrelevant. In the court of public opinion you have been trialed and found guilty. This public
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opinion court includes scrutiny of your non verbal cues- do your eyes shift? Is a smile needed for a missing picture photo op? The placement of your hands. How much you sweat. As well as the verbal cues- How sad does his voice come off looking for his wife? How defensive is he in answering the police questions? All these signals allow the public to determine in mere minutes how good a husband Nick Dunne is and therefore his involvement in his wife's disappearance. If you think all you need is truth, and that alone shall set you free should has never heard a criminal court case. The truth isn't enough, it is what the public thinks is the truth that is critical, and with the right PR the court of public opinion can be swayed. With just the right tone, the right words, and suddenly the public moves from love to hate. In a world where brutal dictators hire PR firms rather than actually doing something to find kidnapped girls, we begin to grasp how important perception really is.

The movie's plot changes our perception of who is good, and who is bad and all the unraveling leads to an unexpected end. What I look for in endings is closure, I want finality. I own that I like things to be neatly wrapped up, despite that being not true to life, I feel it makes for a more satisfying cinematic experience. I want to see the boy get the girl, good triumph over evil, and David slew Goliath. These may be tried and true, but they work for a reason. It is a reminder that while these tropes don't hold  true in real life, they do in film (do not read further if you absolutely don't want to know the ending) I feel like the ending of Gone Girl is akin to the Sopranos ending. After being manipulated for 148 minutes into believing what the writer and director want me believe, during the last minute I'm suddenly being asked to come up with my own ending? Use my own imagination to fill in the blanks? This abrupt cut is for who's benefit? In interviews the writer states it isn't for a sequel, I say time will tell on that. There is no finality with the fade to black, I'm left wanting more. If that was indeed the film maker's intent, well then bravo because I sat in my chair, watching credits role, thinking, surely something else is coming? The author says this was the only ending that made sense, the only ending people could handle- clearly justice be damned. I have my own ending, and perhaps in the DVD alternate endings will be given, for surely no movie is crying out more for  an alternate ending than this movie. If the intent of the ending was to infuriate, the ending achieved that as well. As my friend said though, the ending did spark conversation, no matter how frustrating it is. If debate is the measure of work, then this movie scores high. As it is, with such an ending as the last thing I am to remember about this movie, it takes it from what was a good movie, and turns it into to a terrible movie.
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