If you are a fellow university student reading this, you most likely have been born anytime between 1997 and 2001 (if you are an average undergraduate student), meaning you were more or less 16 years old, when Gone Girl came into cinemas. Does that matter? Why, yes, it does, dear reader. I was planning on writing this article for a while – not an article on the 5-year anniversary of Gone Girl, but anything to do with Gone Girl, really. I have always seen it as an underappreciated movie, for various reasons, which I will touch upon in the rest of the article. However, Gone Girl hitting its 5-year mark in the beginning of October, was the perfect opportunity for me to explore why it is more than another-thriller-film-based-on-a-bestseller, and why it hasn’t been on your radar.
Let’s go back to 2014, when Gone Girl, the best-selling novel written by Gillian Flynn, was adapted into a film starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, and first premiered. At the time, I was 14 years old, and some of you were a bit older perhaps, but most likely still in school. Gone Girl is not the type of movie that will appeal to younger audiences – it is a thriller, first and foremost. It is a gruesome, macabre and disturbing movie, definitely not one you could watch ‘just for fun’. You have to watch it with the right mindset – the one you prepare for a movie that you know will be unsettling, but intriguing enough to watch. After a couple of conversations with my friends and fellow classmates, I have discovered that most of them either think that: a) Gone Girl is an okay movie or b) they haven’t seen it/don’t recall seeing it. My hypothesis is simple: it was advertised (and ranked) as a movie for 16 or 18 year old’s (depending on the country), so it simply did not hit the mark with our age group.
Just so you know, the reason why I have not summarised the plot of the movie yet, is because I simply will not. If I give you too much information, the movie will be ruined for you. So all you need to know is – a woman goes missing and her husband doesn’t know anything about it.
I have scoured the internet, and there are not as many reviews out there as I expected. Nonetheless, there are some. Interestingly enough, none of them went in depth about the soundtrack or the cinematography – most of them were focused on the actors. Which I suppose is fair in some ways, as the average reader is more interested in how well a famous actor did in a movie, rather than how nicely synched the soundtrack was with the nature of the film. Gone Girl is so much more than Affleck’s and Pike’s acting. Notwithstanding, their performance is phenomenally cold and enigmatic, which sets the scene perfectly. Nonetheless, I would like to focus more on the soundtrack. It is a fact that successful thriller movies are dependent on their soundtracks, more specifically, how well placed the silence is, as well as the changes in pitch and tone. Gone Girl’s eerie and experimental soundtrack perfectly underpins the air of discomfort following Affleck’s character throughout the movie. Its hidden Morse-like, static, and other odd sounds, that pop up every now and then, set the scene without using any words – something is broken, something clearly is not working – something just isn’t right. The music builds onto Affleck’s performance, and either push the audience to pity him, or dislike him. Without the soundtrack, and the cool, blue tones of the film, the movie would never be as unsettling as it is. The soundtrack on its own is an interesting piece of music to listen to, and I would suggest you listen to it first before you watch the movie – it will give you a better sense of what you are in for (and you are in for a treat, indeed, albeit a macabre one).