Inadequate Review: Gone Girl

On Sunday, after I abandoned the plan for outlet trip, my lovely wife suggested that we go and see a movie. A couple of her friends had very good things to say about “Gone Girl”, and we haven’t done too many fun stuffs together since we moved into Windy City. So, why not go and see a movie? After some extensive research, we decided to go to the Showplace ICON theater, which turned out to be quite a good decision because of its convenient location and FREE PARKING. You can’t overstate how valuable this is nowadays, especially in a big metropolitan city.

I managed to maintain minimum exposure to this movie because of my lack of interest, didn’t even watch the trailer. In retrospect, my lack of knowledge and low expectation definitely made the movie more thrilling to me. Movie started with a attractive but mysteriously terrifying smile from Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) coupled with a voiceover question from Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck). This somehow instantly drew my interest. After a normal trip to his sister’s bar, Nick found his wife gone missing with a suspicious and disturbing scene at home. The broken coffee table, genuine expression from Nick, and the careful inspection by the detective, all led me to think it must be a case of kidnapping. However, as the investigation progressed, my doubt about Nick was gradually raised by Nick’s lack of social awareness in the press conference and emotion detachment from the searching process. As the investigation goes on, Amy’s diary also in parallel narrated how their romantic relation started and how the marriage made a wrong turn when both of them became unemployed, even described some physical conflict between them. Nick even pushed her toward the stair handle. Although all of these seemingly pointed the possible involvement of Nick in Amy’s missing, I somehow just couldn’t believe that is the truth. And then, the diary was found by detective, all of those credit card purchase was found in the wooden shell. The master plan of Amy was revealed by Amy herself. Everything was setup to kill Nick, who had a fair with his college student. I was so relieved for Nick at that time, because at least he knows what was the truth. Although lawyer’s help seems have positive impact on Nick’s case, It appeared that Amy had already planned all of these on her list and calendar. I was seriously doubting Nick could leave this clean, until Amy’s waistbag fell on the ground unexpectedly. I thought the subsequent robbery left Amy no money, and seemingly no options but to live miserably. But apparently, Amy was such a mastermind that she came up with a backup plan right away. Her wealthy former lover believed her twisted story and rescued Amy, took her to his isolated huge mansion by the lake, thinking they could rekindle the romance between them. However, Amy didn’t want that. Nick’s confession toward camera seems impressed Amy. She planed to fake a rape scene again, just like what she did before to her exboyfriend. What shocked me was that she went to such an extreme that she slashed his throat while having sex with him on the bed. His blood spilled all over her, but Amy just barely flinched. The very next day, after all of the drama, robbery, murder, Amy drove back home, showed up before the front door of her house, fell into her husband’s arm in front of all the cameras. There is no way that I would have guessed this astonishing turn of events. Because I just can’t understand why killing a man and reuniting with her husband would somehow be more feasible than maybe simply hiding and staying with someone loving her. Nick apparently didn’t believe the story that Amy told FBI, and demanded the truth from her. Amy told him everything in shower, Nick was stunned. In the following days, Nick was so uncomfortable to be around her, but he wouldn’t dare to say what he wanted to say. He knew she was a psychopath, and he was terrified. Right before the arranged media interview, Amy revealed that she was pregnant, and Nick would have to maintain that marriage with her for a while. Nick explored, and slammed her head against the wall. Ironically, that is when this couple was finally frank to each other. Amy wanted Nick to help her maintain the marriage because of her brand. And he just needs to follow her instruction, hold her hands before she stepped down stairs, and tell the media what she wants him to say. He surrendered. That is how the story ends.

This movie touched upon so many different aspects of our life, husband-wife relationship, social media’s hunger for story line, public relations manipulation, and how ourselves are portrayed by others. There are so many topics involved in this movie, I found myself can’t stop thinking about them, the logic of the film development, the ethic questions of all parties involved, and how this film is reflecting in the real life questions? I have not read the book before. After a few conversation with whom have read the books, many of my confusion about the story became clear.

My first question is why would a wife become so extreme, and go so far to put his husband in the jail simply because of cheating? Amy’s whole life is under disguise from what I understand. She pretended, or tried to be what a man wanted. That explains why Nick and Amy had such a smooth start. Everything between them was so perfect, and spontaneous. Nick said all the right things, and Amy behaved naturally and responded so right from a male perspective. She maintained her size at 2, and said all the right things when recession hits and Nick became unemployed. But when a man wanted to leave her, she became a hateful and desperate monster, because the man would not respect his roles in the play, or her effect in this play. So, she set up a rape against her exboyfriend, and she wanted to send Nick to jail. On the other hand, it has to be said that the movie director deliberately made Amy the super villain, while the original storyline is more balanced. After unemployed, Nick became very depressed and manipulative, a basically A-hole, according to the book, driving Amy crazy. This aspect was merely introduced with a roughly 5 min scene in this movie. Cynical side of me initially attempted to defend the actor’s behavior based upon the limited information when chatting with my wife. I think unemployment could greatly challenge a man’s ego, more than many other obstacles. Coupled with the silent pressure from the wife, it is not hard to imagine Nick could just become very depressed, and defensive because of his self-esteem issue. “So what should the wife do?” my wife questioned me. I really have no idea. I am that kind of person believing that people should take care of their own business regardless of the circumstances. Ultimately, no one could change your fate except yourself. In that situation, the husband could be down, but I guess maybe the wife could show some weakness, and let the husband think that his effort is needed, and surely appreciated. This perhaps could motivate the other person, and give them the purpose that they could be searching. Wife could simply say “I need you to get out of your slump, I need your support for us to get through this.” You get the idea, I am not guarantee this could work, just offer an option. Because you could encounter the possible unpleasant passive aggressive response, such as “Find yourself another guy then. This is who I am, who don’t wanna do anything.” In that case, “Good luck”.

The other big question is why Amy thinks it is more attractive option to go back to Nick after killing Desi. When Amy spent her whole life to be someone a man wants, she grew the appreciation for the man who respects her effort, and is willing to “perform” according to her preferred script. And when Amy saw Nick expressed his regret on television, emphasized that he wanted Amy to come back and become the man that Amy wanted, Amy was truly moved and realized that this is a much more appealing storyline to the “audience”. Desi became a inevitable victim or “villain” in the exciting story. She killed the “kidnapper” and reunited with her husband victoriously! Amazing Amy was brave and strong, a true role model for the society. Even the pregnancy was also part of the plot, for the perfect ending in the story.

The “Gone Girl” covered so many other aspects in the real world, such as, letting the audience experience how the media leads a discussion and draws audience’s interest about any topic. It would be fun for anyone to watch this thriller, with or without the previous knowledge of the novel. In fact, having watched this movie really made me wanna open the novel.

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