Release Date(s)2014 (January 13, 2015)
Studio(s)20th Century Fox
- Film/Program Grade: B-
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A-
- Extras Grade: C-
No doubt you’re already aware that David Fincher’s Gone Girl is a film adaptation of a bestselling novel by Gillian Flynn. Both incarnations could be described as domestic psychological crime thrillers, documenting the construction and subsequent destruction of the marriage of Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and Amy Elliott-Dunne (Rosamund Pike). The story seems simple at first: Boy meets girl, boy marries girl, girl disappears. Then all kinds of nasty little details about these events are revealed, leaving the reader (or in this case, the viewer) scrambling to ascertain the truths of the tale and to see where it all will lead.
This cinematic version is beautifully constructed, showcasing every bit of the calculated style that filmgoers have come to expect from Fincher, with camerawork and staging presented in his trademark omniscient viewer’s perspective. The story unfolds in parts, first to establish Nick and Amy’s relationship, then to show Nick grappling with the consequences and aftermath of Amy’s disappearance, and finally we shift perspectives altogether as the careful construction of that disappearance begins to unravel. Though the early dialogue is a bit trite and off-putting initially, particularly as the characters of Nick and Amy are still engaged in the whirlwind romance phase of their relationship, it soon settles down and the film becomes a slightly odd but engaging viewing experience. While Affleck and Pike both deliver fine performances, the standouts here are Tyler Perry, Kim Dickens, and especially Carrie Coon, who help to anchor the film’s sense of realism... at least to the extent that you can call this film realistic. Neil Patrick Harris’ involvement unfortunately feels like a bit of stunt casting. He’s a solid actor, but his character here is so one-dimensional that there’s little he can really bring to part.
The Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox delivers superior 1080p HD video quality, especially given the film’s somewhat dark and moody aspect. The color palate is cool and reserved, almost nourish. Gone Girl was shot entirely in 6K resolution using RED’s Epic Dragon camera, and was carefully graded in post by Fincher and DP Jeff Cronenweth. As you’d expect then, the image here offers excellent and subtle textures and fine detailing. Audio-wise, the disc includes a lossless English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix that’s highly atmospheric and delivers clean dialogue throughout. The track also allows Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ austere score abundant room to shine, thereby lending the film’s twists and turns a satisfying undercurrent of sonic tension. Note that Dolby Digital 5.1 audio options and subtitles are also available in a host of other languages, and English SDH is included too for those who may need it.
The only extra provided on the disc itself is a feature-length audio commentary with Fincher, who is by turns amusing and anecdotal. While his thoughts are not especially revealing, they are interesting and are worth a listen, especially for fans of the director’s work. The Blu-ray packaging also includes an insert granting access to a digital copy version of the film, and there’s a 32-page reproduction of the Amazing Amy Tattle Tale children’s book featured in the story.
While Gone Girl is a good film, and even a good Fincher film, at times it feels a bit mechanical. I wish this director would branch out a little more, take bigger risks (as he often did early in his career), and really put his skills to the test with a better challenge than an impeccably-crafted but lurid relationship thriller of the month. Fincher has dabbled in multiple genres now, and yet all too many of his films become essentially the same thing: cold, gorgeous, and meticulously – even ruthlessly – plotted dramas about monsters, both real and psychological, and the people whose lives are affected by them. Nevertheless, while Gone Girl certainly fits this pattern, it remains an undeniably entertaining and worthy viewing experience. Just don’t expect it to really stick with you afterwards in the way that Fincher’s best films often do.
- Bill Hunt