Let me start by saying the film held my interest for most of the movie. It becomes a mystery we want to solve when the protagonist's wife disappears and his own innocence is called into question. At its core the film posed a basic but intriguing mystery as to the disappearance; viewers certainly wanted to know what happened to the Gone Girl, whether or not the husband was involved and, if not, who or what was the culprit in the unfortunate incident.
But the story began to break down, became less plausible, as the nature of the wife was slowly revealed over the second half of the movie. This began to deconstruct the image that the husband's memory poses of her in the first part of the film, making the entire first half of the movie, somehow, false or misconstrued. The protagonist- husband's judgement is called into question, and the viewer him or herself must begin to wonder what had genuinely transpired. This may sound intriguing as a story, but there are certain aspects of the wife's character that should have been visible to the husband, or to anyone else who spent time with her at work or at school, and apparently this never happened. The husband is kind of a slightly-above-average common guy; he has to be above-average to marry a PhD from an ivy- league school. The problem is: ruthless, amoral sociopaths have distinctive features to their personality, particularly those who would manipulate, lie, use sex and even murder to achieve their goals. The distinguishing personality feature of the sociopath, (once called "psychopath"), is superficiality. In other words there is no true intimacy in the usual sense of the word. Establishing meaningful, long-term relationships is not the forte of the sociopath. (Think of Ray Liotta's character in Goodfellas. Yes, he has a wife and children, but he is unfaithful to her during their entire relationship, until the deluded wife finally comes to her senses).
Most people eventually become aware of this superficiality, of the lying and manipulation that forms the essence of the sociopathic personality. Yet in this film the unsuspecting husband seems oblivious to the dominant personality trait of his wife. In the narrative describing their path to marriage at the start of the movie, the viewer is led to believe the relationship is almost ideal, and satisfying to both husband and wife. The later revelations at first make Ben Affleck's character seem a little dull, or even insensitive, but we have no reason to assume this to be true from the first half of the movie's narrative. The final, compensatory attempt to fill-in this blank comes when it is reveled that the husband had a girlfriend, that he has lost any sense of true intimacy with his wife. But it is a little late and the screen-writer cheats the viewer with this information, all in the effort to make plausible the film's final revelation.
Regardless of the the quasi-references to feminism, or to the struggle in boy-girl relationships for power and control, the film is actually a kind of cheap set-up for a completely unexpected outcome, and leaves the viewer wondering what, if anything, the movie really wanted to say. Or, what, if anything, the film can contribute to better understanding human relations. Not much, I think.
5 out of 10 found this helpful.
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