“Gone Girl” is deceivingly dark and star-making for Rosamund Pike

Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike star as Nick and Amy Dunne in "Gone Girl": a picture-perfect couple gone tantalizingly wrong. Photo credit to The Guardian. 2014.

Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike star as Nick and Amy Dunne in “Gone Girl”: a picture-perfect couple gone tantalizingly wrong. Photo credit to The Guardian. 2014.

“I will practice believing my husband loves me but I could be wrong,” Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) tells herself.

The sudden disappearance of the perfect trophy wife–smart, well-read, strikingly gorgeous and beloved by her community–causes a stir that has the nation (and police) pinning that her husband Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) murdered her. And, in the beginning, we believe that too.

Based on Gillian Flynn’s best-selling 2012 novel, this crime thriller undergoes a mysteriously dark yet deceivingly smart take on love, marriage, and the f*cked up people who make up that union.

“Nick Dunne. You’re probably the most hated man in America right now. Did you kill your wife, Nick?” a TV telecaster poses to Nick.

Nick, your common, mellow, laid-back everyman is easy to deceive. Nick and Amy seem to be in a flawless, loving marriage. But, Amy’s got Nick strung on her finger. She knows exactly who she is to Nick.

As the inspiration for her parents’ popular Amazing Amy children’s book series and source of everyone’s ideal, ‘better’ version of themselves (and of course the ‘better,’ rewritten version of Amy herself), Amy has fallen into a loveless marriage. Flashbacks reveal their disintegration–losing jobs, leaving New York City where Amy loses her vibrant life to become a useless package on Nick’s return home to Missouri, and their growing separation. Amy feels herself growing into a version of herself that she hates. Brilliantly, she conceives a whole story to get the entire nation to hate Nick. Her meticulous preparation is impressive and dangerously obsessive. Soon, we are all thinking why this girl is so f*cked up. But, we sympathize with her.

There’s sex and there’s meaningless sex. There’s the realization that Amy is “frightened of [her] own husband.” She’s broken. He’s unfaithful.

Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck in "Gone Girl." Photo credit to USA Today.

Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck in “Gone Girl.” Photo credit to USA Today.

I have to say, Rosamund Pike’s role as the perfectly imperfect, tumultuous Amy Dunne is unreal. A highly-coveted and one of the few multi-layered female roles to get the attention of every Hollywood A-lister–from Reese Witherspoon to Olivia Wilde–Pike is engagingly real. And, as director David Fincher hand-picked Pike to play Amy himself, Pike’s mildly unknown stardom and ability to “show one emotion to the next” and be a self-called seemingly-contained “wild person” is what made her perfect for the role.

“It’s fear of [being a wild person] which makes me come across as contained,” Pike reveals. “Calm is something I’m fundamentally not.”

Possessing a rather regal air, with perfectly blonde-hair and model-trim physique, Pike grew up with rather humble beginnings. She played a slate of supporting roles over the course of her career (Jane Bennet in 2005’s Pride & Prejudice and the Bond girl in 2002’s Die Another Day). This role, as her first lead-role and role of a lifetime, is a well-deserved one at that.

Pike reveals, “You suddenly feel so small. I thought, ‘I’m embarking on this thing I’ve always wanted,’ ” voice cracking and eyes welling up, to Variety. “Someone is giving me that chance, which is something I’ve wanted since I’ve been a tiny girl.”

Pike reveals a wide range of complexities that are astonishing and star-making. Having gone through vocal coaching to adapt a wealthy East Coast American accent and transforming her body back-and-forth from eating terribly to exercising furiously and back, Gone Girl‘s portrayal of Amy–who is fragile and narcissistic and tells us of our own narcissistic projections onto other people–is striking. Tragically beautiful and flawed, we grow to see the humanity in her; and all throughout, you are cheering at Pike’s impassioned conquest at this woman who is so interesting and hard to understand; someone who so confidently plays at the common gendered stereotypes of women.

“We’re so cute,” Amy says in the film. “I wanna punch us in the face.”

Engrossed in the unraveling mystery in the film, the film’s stars and characters they channel are really what make this movie shine.

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