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Gone Girl

 Those who have seen Gone Girl would have either read the book or not. I suspect the latter category would have enjoyed it more. I read Gilllian Lynne’s clever work early on before it became a best seller and was impressed. An unreliable narrator failed writer Nick Dunne recounts his story in the I form whilst his wife’s Amy diary is the next chapter. This builds up a largely inaccurate portrait of a 5 year marriage and explanatation for her disappearance. Director David Fincher approaches the adaptation through a lengthy series of flashbacks but this is the film’s greatest weakness: at 142 minutes it’s too long. This is an unattractive trait of modern cinema. Martin Scorsese’s  film are normally 3 hours. After an hour of Gone Girl I looked at my watch, my bladder was beginning to ache. I looked again later and we were still half way. Even the ending took a good 20 minutes.

Two other faults made this something of an ordeal: the screenplay lacked punch and the acting was mediocre. Rosamund Pike as Amy whose face many will recognise has been around for some time (An Education, Made in Dagenham) just below star top billing. The Oxford-educated actress has looks and intelligence and beat many of the American superstars to this role which allows any actress to show her range. She is certainly competent but if the film is not box office she may not maintan her leading roles. The sister of Nick Margot overacts and becomes stridently irritating and Tyler Perry as the brilliant defence lawyer does not convince. Ben Affleck as Nick is bit of a beefcake hunk whereas I imagined the character in the novel as more bookish.

The list of films that never are as good on screen is endless particularly with bestsellers. Off the top of my head I can only think of The Godfather  that was as good a film as book. I am afraid that Gone Girl joins that negative list.

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About Neil Rosen

Neil went to the City of London School and Manchester University graduating with a 1st in economics. After a brief stint in accountancy, Neil emigrated to a kibbutz In Israel. His articles on the burgeoning Israeli film industry earned comparisons to Truffaut and Godard in Cahiers du Cinema. Now one of the world's leading film critics and moderators at film Festivals Neil has written definitively in his book Kosher Nostra on Jewish post war actors. Neil lives with his family in North London. More Posts