Back when I interned at Universal Pictures, the summer after graduating high school, my job was to read scripts. My favorite activity when reading these scripts was to cast them in my mind. To this day, I take full credit for casting Jim Carrey in Liar, Liar. While I am quite aware that this would never hold up in any court of law, I distinctly remember saying to a coworker who shall remain nameless only because I don’t remember the co-worker’s name that the only way Liar, Liar would work would be if it starred Jim Carrey. So there you go, it was practically my idea. I’ll just wait by my mailbox for my residual check.
When reading Gone Girl, I had done the same thing although there might be some question about my casting abilities but while reading, I could imagine professional killer Scott Peterson in the role of Nick and professional actress, Reese Witherspoon in the role of Amy. Scott Peterson was obviously unavailable because well, he’s in prison but Reese Witherspoon ended up being a producer on the film, so I’m kinda half right in my casting decisions this time. I’ll once again wait by my mailbox for half of a residual check.
The mark of a good book is when you can imagine the movie playing out in your head. When you can see the characters and walk beside them, feel for them, yell at them and feel that twinge of sadness when you reach the end of their journey. The mark of a good movie is when you see your imagination play out on the screen. The casting of Ben Affleck in the role of Nick and Rosamund Pike in the role of Amy was even better than I could imagine. Both actors perfectly captured the coldness and stoic-ness that embodied the characters in the book. Both Nick and Amy were severely flawed in ways that I found myself rooting for the character I hated the least and that changed with each moment.
Ben Affleck, aka Batman, was perfect as the husband who had difficulty with emotion. Every line was said with a flatness that I could completely hear when I had read the book and it did remind me of those interviews Scott Peterson had done, trying to convince the world he had not killed his wife. I’m not sure if it’s a compliment or not that Ben Affleck could play a very convincing serial killer, but he could. Rosamund Pike was also perfect as Amy, the sociopath. The shots that focused on her face, especially her eyes, were chilling. She was terrific and the role of Amy, I bet, was very difficult to cast and the producers did a great job.
There were definitely differences between the book and the movie. For example, in the book, Amy’s parents had a bigger role and in my amateur therapist role, I liked to think that the perfect Amy portrayed in the Amazing Amy books was part of the reason the “real” Amy became who she became: amazingly psychotic. I do wish the importance of those books were given more screen time. In the movie, there is a scene during the Amazing Amy wedding party where Amy is describing the differences between herself and the Amazing Amy character which did enough to show the stark contrast between the two. I did love this scene and it made me applaud the choice of Reese Witherspoon as producer even more. What we see and what we read is never the full story, the full story is usually far deeper and far better hidden, only to come out during weak moments or moments we’d like to soon forget.
Other differences between the book and the movie? The disappearance of Hannibal, Missouri which played a big part in the book and Nick’s mistress also played a bigger role as did the explanation of the Punch and Judy dolls, but to be honest, I didn’t really miss those things and that’s a mark of a great movie right there, you don’t really miss the parts that were omitted from the book.
There are also were also moments that expected you to suspend your beliefs but the entire movie tests that and as long as it’s amazing, then I will suspend away. There are also some issues on the interwebs about the ending. I thought the ending was perfect. It was how it should have ended, Nick and Amy are two legitimately crazy people who fit in some crazy, bizarre way that makes no sense to anyone else and it doesn’t really need to make sense. It just does.
I do also feel that I need to give a shout out to the amount of product placement in Gone Girl. From the beginning when Nick brings the game Mastermind to the bar to play with his sister to every other product featured in this movie. Even the Kit Kat bar got its own placement and the film major in me went nuts for the symbolism. Kit Kat breaks apart, much like the marriage of Amy and Nick? Uh-huh, yeah….I went there. The products told the movie or gave away big spoilers in the movie. I also loved the fashion choices, Amy’s mother only wore beige and when Nick is interviewed by a reporter at the end of the movie, she too is wearing beige and ends up blending into the walls of Nick and Amy’s home. It’s like the director was sending a message that Amy and Nick stick out in a town of beige. I love finding symbolism…..or at the very least, making it up.
This movie was fantastic and is still sticking with me. It stuck to the book and I would see the movie again. I would give it four out of five hearing aid batteries.