Mook Review: Gone Girl

Gone Girl – Novel by Gillian Flynn

via Amazon.com

via Amazon.com

There are some books that seem to blow up all at once.  It’s as if suddenly EVERYONE is reading it, EVERYONE is talking about it, and EVERYONE is waiting movie adaptation.  These books are thrilling and successful, but are hardly ever very good (think The Da Vinci Code, 50 Shades of Grey), and typically have a great plot with surface level characters.  Frankly, these trendy books just don’t have much depth.

Gone Girl, in many ways, falls into the category of the book-of-the-moment.  Flynn’s third novel was wildly successful, with readers spanning from teenagers to parents to everyone in-between.  It was one of those novels everyone stayed up until 4am reading, just trying to get through one more chapter, and couldn’t wait to gush about to their peers.  But Flynn’s characters were complex.  As a reader, I developed emotions towards them: distrust, empathy, anger.  I found myself connected to their story.  I spoke about Nick and Amy Dunne as if they were real people.  I was obsessed.

The ending of Gone Girl was a sensitive subject for most but I do feel that since this was one of those top reads that everyone expected the concrete ending that most best sellers have.  I found the ending to be successful, with just enough information to know that something terrible is still going to happen, without explicitly knowing what.  The ending leaves your imagination to run away with itself in the right way, but I understand why most found it unfulfilling.  Flynn is a talented author, and Gone Girl led me to read her two other books which I really enjoyed.  While Gone Girl was definitely the strongest, I’m excited to see what comes next from Gillian Flynn.

 

“Gone Girl”Directed by David Fincher

via IMDB.com

via IMDB.com

There are so many ways “Gone Girl” could have gone horribly wrong.  It could have been poorly cast, terribly written, hard to understand, or too over the top to be impactful.  This move got a lot of hype, and even those who didn’t read the novel were eager to see the movie.  I do have to say, reading the book helped with digesting the movie.  For example, when Amy (played by Rosamund Pike) turns up on Nick’s doorstep covered in blood and looking distressed, I knew that she was just being typical, crazy Amy.  But for most of those in the theater, they found it comical.  People were laughing.  I also think many of the non-book-readers found the whole story to be slow.  The build up wasn’t as intense when you aren’t hearing the information through first person and became, in a way, boring.

The book was better, plain and simple.

The obvious aside, Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike did an incredible job and were perfectly cast.  There was something about the way Pike carried herself that really nailed it for me.  Her smile was mechanical and her movements were calculated – and almost robotic – at times.   As beautiful as she is, Pike’s smile made me cringe.  Affleck also did a really great job playing Nick, although I feel like he wasn’t so much playing a part but playing himself.  You hate him almost as much as you hate Amy, which is exactly what he is supposed to do.  Of course there were bits and pieces left out of the movie, but they actually followed the storyline honorably well, moreso than many other mooks.  I still don’t really understand why the scene with Desi became so graphic, but I guess visually for those who didn’t read the book it may have been more thrilling.

In general, “Gone Girl” was a good movie but for all points and purposes just read the damn book.

Mook Rating  ★★

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12 thoughts on “Mook Review: Gone Girl

  1. I saw the movie last night after having read the book last week. I agree that the book was better, and I don’t usually say that. But I went with my boyfriend, who hadn’t read the book, and he had a lot of beefs with plot holes and characterization that IMO were explained more in the book. There was a PILE of evidence against Nick in the book, and they cut out a lot of it in the movie (for good reason – much was redundant, much was kind of unneeded, and much would have made Nick look like a worse character. The movie makes Nick out to be a better guy than the book does – like he actually WAS on the beach the morning of, not with Andie – because we don’t have his first person narration to justify some of his flaws).

    But I did appreciate some of the changes that actually FIXED plot holes. One thing that bugged me in the book was that she’d killed Desi using sleeping pills before slicing his throat. If they did a tox screen on him, they would have been able to see that he’d been put out. Amy would have been much smarter than to make a mistake like that. His murder in the movie is easier to chalk up to self defense, although I’m still curious about the camera system – wouldn’t the cameras show Desi and Amy being normal together? Or was Amy turning off the cameras at her leisure?

    In both mediums, I have an issue with how quickly Amy’s end story is taken at face value, and how Desi’s death is really not investigated at all. It’s like “oh, she’s home, happy story ending!” But I can let that go for the point Flynn was making about the fickle media and how much the media sways public opinion – even that of the police. I think overall, the movie was as good a translation from the book as you could really get, and the casting/acting was well done (except Neil Patrick Harris, tbh, because he’s just so obviously Neil Patrick Harris to me and I can’t suspend disbelief that he’s anything else. It’s not that he’s a bad actor, but he’s like Oprah or Jay Leno or anyone else who is more famous for being themselves than an actor. It’s just distracting, a bit).

    I think I enjoyed it more than my boyfriend because it hit home for me, as a woman, all we do to not be The Bitch and to be The Cool Girl instead. Everything else in the movie or book aside, the story said stuff to me that was really spot on. And that’s the main reason I appreciate it.

  2. A very intriguing review. I completely agree that the ending is so open to interpretation and Pike really does do a great job of being Amy

  3. So is this a book you would recommend for someone to read?
    Or is it one of the books your would only recommend for someone who is only into reading main stream books?
    Personally, I have been looking at reading this book way before it became something popular to read. And what you were saying about superficial characters is why I thought I should not bother, since it seemed like every other mainstream book that has been turned into a movie.

  4. Thanks for the review. I wasn’t sure if I was going to read the book or not, but I think I will give it a shot (when the library has a copy for me to borrow–the wait list is still a little long).

  5. I think I pretty much agree with your reviews of both the book and the film. I too think the performances in the film were really good – I thought Amy’s parents were particularly good and were just as I’d pictured them after reading the book.
    ‘That’ scene with Desi nearly made me pass out in the cinema – I can be a bit squeamish :-D
    Love your blog – great idea and a great name too! Look forward to reading more from you.

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