Page to Screen Vol. 3: Gone Girl
I finished Gone Girl the book October 3rd, and headed to the theater to watch the movie on October 4th.
The book starts off kind of slow and it took me a little bit to really get into. It starts off going back and forth from Amy's past diary entries and Nick's present day thoughts. It reads like a novel about a broken marriage at first and how Amy, the dutiful wife, tried her best to fix it but soon grew to fear her abusive husband. This is very much like the movie in that regard.
Btw...there are, oh, so many spoilers in this article. You have been warned.
Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy (Rosamund Pike) are writers in the Big Apple who both lose their jobs and are forced to move to southeastern Missouri to be by Nick's mother during her cancer. Nick's mother dies and the marriage goes slowly, and sadly, down the tubes. It seems all tragic, and even whose, when Amy winds up missing on the day of their fifth wedding anniversary.
Traditionally, Amy left Nick scavenger hunts for their anniversary and this year was no exception. The only difference is that Amy has given Nick the gift of guilt, fear and anger. Her vengeance is poetic and disturbing as Nick soon realizes that the clues to her scavenger hunt have been conveniently placed in locations of his infidelity.
Typical “cheating husband gets bested by his wife,” plot, right? Not exactly. True she faked her disappearance in such a detail-oriented manner that one may assume she has a compulsion; her plan is not without its speed bumps. Amy gets attacked and all her cash she carefully and slowly siphoned from credit cards she opened in Nick’s name is gone. She has no choice but to call on her loyal follower, Desi Collings (Neil Patrick Harris).
Collings puts her up on his state of the art lake house (the likes of which I’ve personally never seen in the Ozarks), fully equipped with a surveillance system and a seemingly never-ending supply of gourmet food. He starts a power play though and doesn’t exactly give her freedom to leave. She keeps up the façade that the two will be together, while posing for the surveillance cameras as a victim. GRAPHIC CONTENT: She even goes so far as to mimic rape injuries by using a wine bottle. One night when Collings arrive and proceeds to have intimate relations with her, she slits his throat, takes his car and wanders home to a very pissed of Nick and a yard full of reporters.
Since Flynn herself wrote the screenplay for the movie there’s not much to say about the changes as they were mostly minimal. Although, I do wish there had been a housewarming flashback as that is a very Missouri thing to. When I was in Kansas City, MO, I had to have one every time I moved. It’s just a thing.
As far as casting goes, I was pleased, not blown away, but pleased. Even though NPH didn’t have much screen time, he’s definitely a stand out. Tyler Perry’s mirth as lawyer Tanner was charming. I was rather surprised when he dropped a few F-bombs. That doesn’t seem like a man who built his movie and theatrical empire off a crazy, gospel matron (Madea) would do, but c’est la vie. The woman who played Shawna Kelley, a throwaway character in both the book and the movie, was perfect! I’ve seen women like this in all parts of Missouri and chuckled uncontrollably as I watched her on screen.
Both the book and movie were enjoyable, however, I do like the ending of the book better which ends thusly:
This morning he was stroking my hair and asking what else he could do for me, and I said: “My gosh, Nick, why are you so wonderful to me?”
He was supposed to say: You deserve it. I love you.
But he said, “Because I feel sorry for you.”
Because every morning you have to wake up and be you.”
I really truly wish he hadn’t said that.
I keep thinking about it. I can’t stop.
I don’t have anything else to add. I just wanted to make sure I had the last word. I think I’ve earned that.
Now, to me, this is open to interpretation. I feel like she most likely either punished him later on for this slight or killed him later on. She still seems pissed. In the movie, it just ends with him stroking her hair and looking at him all crazy, psycho killer wife-like. Still not a bad flick. I give it a three out of five.