Who are you? What have you done to my favourite book? These are normally the questions I ask myself when a beloved book is given the “Hollywood” treatment and turned into a film. So it was with a mixture of joy and trepidation that I headed to the cinema to see Gone Girl. Would a film be able to do this complicated thriller justice?
Since its release in 2012 it was inevitable that Gone Girl was heading to the big screen; with A List fans like Sarah Jessica Parker, spotted clutching the book as she sashayed round New York, it was only a matter of time. It’s not that I hate film adaptions but I do find it frustrating when the screenwriters stray from the original story or even (the greatest crime) change the ending! But with author Gillian Flynn penning the screenplay surely Gone Girl would stick true to its original plot, with all its sinister twists and turns?
It’s hard to review Gone Girl without giving too much away. Flynn asks us to explore the relationship of Nick and Amy Dunne, where everything is not as it seems and as the story develops we find ourselves echoing the thoughts of the characters and asking ourselves how well do we ever really know the people we share our lives with? The story begins with Nick realising his wife has gone missing and starts to take us down the usual “whodunit” path but soon Flynn is throwing in plot twists and turns that keep you guessing right up to the final chapters. Even once the book is closed it leaves you questioning the motives of the characters and with a lingering sense of unease.
Thanks to Flynn’s sharp penmanship the book adapts well to the big screen. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike play Nick and Amy Dunne respectively and bring to life the intricate characters and small nuances that are depicted so well in the book. As you would expect Flynn sticks closely to the story and even keeps the original ending; which is a brave decision given Hollywood’s love of fairy tale endings. Some of the more complex relationships in the book are glossed over in the film so the book does provide you with a better understanding of the characters and what motivates their actions. Despite this, the film has managed to evoke the same rollercoaster ride of emotions as you journey through the Dunne’s dark and complex marriage.
The film is beautifully put together and well worth a cinema ticket but I would urge you to read the book first to really get beneath the skin of the characters. As a true bookworm, for me a good book will always win out over a film but if it is a happy ending you are looking for, I’d stay clear of the Dunnes altogether.
By Samantha Vandersteen