Sunday, 15 February 2015

84. Gone Girl Book and Film Review

Hello everyone, I know that I'm very behind with this as Gone Girl was one of the most talked about books last year and the film adaptation was highly anticipated. I read it after my January exams as I was too busy to read it in time for its cinema release.

For those of you who haven't read and/or watched Gone Girl, here's a brief overview of what it's about and I'll try not to provide any spoilers! Nick Dunne is a journalist based in New York where he meets Amy who writes lame quizzes for women's magazines like "What tree are you?". Amy's parents are psychologists and authors who write the children's book series called Amazing Amy. Nick and Amy end up getting married and all is well for a while but eventually, due to the recession, they both lose their jobs which is the start of their marriage problems. They move to Missouri to help Nick's sister, Margo, look after their mother who has cancer and father who has Alzheimer's. Amy lends Nick some money to open up The Bar (yes, a bar called The Bar, creative I know) and they are starting to drift apart. On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing from their home. The police question a number of suspects including her ex partners and Amy's childhood friend who became obsessed with her due to the Amazing Amy books. Eventually, Nick is the main suspect and it is not looking good for him at all due to a lot of lies he has told the police, all that is preventing him from being charged is the lack of a body. Every year on their wedding anniversary, Amy sets up a treasure hunt with Nick's present at the end so this year, each clue provides a subtle hint as to what has happened to Amy. The treasure hunt exposes what a manipulative psychopath Amy really is!

Now that I've finally caught up, here's what I thought of both the book and film which I watched the day after finishing the book.

I'll start with the book and honestly, I was disappointed. I really don't understand what the big deal is. First, I wish someone had warned me that it was going to be so filthy, I was not expecting some parts to be so sexually explicit which reminds me, if I see one more post on social media about 50 Shades of S***, I may just explode with fury. I was tempted to stop reading but once I start a book, I have to finish it off (although I still haven't managed to get past page 7 of Life of Pi *yawn*). Second, I found the book quite hard to get into compared to other books that I've read where someone goes missing like Six Years On and A Single Breath which were much more consistent. The twist right at the end which effectively traps Nick was very shocking but the ending did annoy me because after all the lies, it ended too smoothly for everyone involved with nobody being held responsible. Finally, similar to what people have said about the whodunit Lucy Beale storyline in Eastenders, neither Amy nor Lucy are likeable characters so as a reader/viewer, I have no sympathy for them. Having said that, Nick is a real jerk too but I do feel sorry for him at the very end.

I did like the layout of the book with one chapter from Nick's point of view and the next followed from Amy's perspective and so on. Also, there is a delay in how the two tell their story with Nick beginning his side from the day Amy goes missing and Amy starting from the day she met Nick for the first time but eventually, they are both telling the story at the same time. The book is also split into three sections to coincide with a major event. Despite not being a fan of either Amy or Nick, I did like Margo because she is so selfless and straight talking. She stands by Nick even when more and more evidence is stacking up against him. The other character that I liked was Nick's lawyer, Tanner Bolt. He's very laid back but is very good at what he does. There's a funny scene in the film which features Tanner that I will mention below.

Personally, I think there are much better thrillers involving a missing wife/husband such as the two I've mentioned above so overall I give Gone Girl the novel:

3/5 for being unnecessarily long and dirty but having some good twists.

Some of you may be thinking why I decided to watch the film if I didn't enjoy the book well, I did so for a couple of reasons:
1) I have this thing where if I have read a book which has a movie adaptation, then I have to watch it to see if the story is how I imagined.
2) I wanted to give the story a second chance and see if the film was any better than the book.

Unfortunately, I was wrong and didn't find the film to be much better than the book. As you may have heard, Rosamund Pike has been nominated for an Oscar in the best actress in a leading role category for her performance as Amy. Now I'm sure that Pike is a fabulous actress but I really don't think this was the role for her. As a British actress, her accent wasn't the only thing that I found unconvincing. I just found her very stiff and passive which is the opposite of the character's personality and the same goes for Ben Affleck who played Nick. Also starring in the film was Neil Patrick Harris who most of you will know as Barney from HIMYM, it was refreshing to see him play such a different character. Neil plays Desi Collings who is Amy's ex, a suspect and also Amy's confidante. Poor Desi comes to a particularly gory end in a scene that is different to the book and it also happens to be my least favourite scene, it was truly horrific. Neil's acting was much better than Rosamund's and Ben's in my opinion. I shall try to end on a positive by mentioning my favourite scene with Tanner Bolt. He was helping Nick to prepare for a TV interview and appeal and every time Nick said something wrong which made him appear guilty, Tanner started throwing sweets at him. In the book, it was actually Tanner's wife throwing the sweets but they didn't include her at all in the film. Another thing that I liked about the film was how it started and ended in the same way which was quite clever. Nick was stroking the back of Amy's head and thinking the same questions : "What are you thinking? "What's going on inside your head?" in both the opening and closing scenes.

My favourites- Tanner and Margo.
I give Gone Girl the film 2/5 because the changes made to the story line like the gruesome end of Desi mentioned above did not improve it. I'm glad I didn't wait to buy it on DVD as it would have gone straight to Oxfam, thanks to Amazon Instant Video!

Have you read and/or watched Gone Girl? If so, what did you think of it? Also, if you haven't read/ watched it then don't let me put you off, everyone's different and you may love it (the same goes for any other book/ film reviews on here).

Until next time, take care.

Mancunian Sheep x