I went to see Gone Girl this weekend, spurred by reports from several Lovefraud readers that the film reminded them of the psychopaths in their lives.
In my opinion, the story was a realistic portrayal of psychopathic behavior — until it descended into psychopathic cliché.
Here’s the official synopsis on GoneGirlMovie.com:
GONE GIRL – directed by David Fincher and based upon the global bestseller by Gillian Flynn – unearths the secrets at the heart of a modern marriage. On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his beautiful wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?
I’m sure the marketers said Gone Girl “unearths the secrets at the heart of a modern marriage” to make the movie appeal to a wide audience. Because if they said the film “reveals the treachery of marriage to a psychopath,” people might be afraid to watch it.
Forgive me if I’m a bit vague in how I write about Gone Girl, but I don’t want to fill this post with spoilers for all of you who haven’t seen the movie yet.
From a purely entertainment perspective, the movie is good. It moved along quickly, held my interest, told a compelling story — until the action just went way over the top.
I really liked the way the characters were portrayed. The attitude of the psychopath was absolutely on the money, and the reactions of the people around the psychopath were realistic.
This psychopath charmed, was temporarily satisfied, then plotted and schemed. The movie did a good job of illustrating the motivations and behavior of a highly disordered individual.
Gone Girl could have been a cautionary tale about the human predators who live among us. But then, about 80% of the way through the movie, there’s a plot twist that is just too messy, and I mean that literally. A real psychopath, especially one so smart and calculating, would have accomplished the objective without it looking like a horror movie.
At that point, the plausibility and realism were lost.
Even casual moviegoers start questioning the storyline. Why did they do this? Why didn’t they do that?
The vibe in the movie theater as Gone Girl came to an end was that it was typical Hollywood fare — dramatic, shocking fiction. I doubt anyone believed that such a story could really happen.
Which is too bad, because much of what the movie portrayed could really happen to someone unlucky enough to tangle with a highly disordered psychopath.
The charm, manipulation, deceit, sense of entitlement, calculated plotting and chameleon-like ability to change personas that are depicted in Gone Girl are absolutely realistic. If the story were toned down just a little bit, you could send your families and friends to the movie so they could learn what you’ve been dealing with.