Nick and Amy Dunne (Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike) have a great marriage, they love each other very much.
They lose their jobs and Ben’s mother gets sick, so the couple move from their brownstone in NY to Missouri, Nick opens a bar and Amy occupies her days.
Amy represents her parents inspiration for the “Amazing Amy” series of children’s books. Based on Amy’s childhood with all of her parents hopes played out on the page. A distorted reality, bending the truth to fit her parents vicarious dreams for their daughter.
All appears well at home, Nick tends bar with his twin sister Margo (Carrie Coon) but one day he returns home and the lounge shows signs of a disturbance, Amy is missing.
The police arrive, their suspicions are aroused, the town mourns and the search for Amy commences.
To relate more of the plot would provide spoilers, it is however fair to say you should prepare for your emotions and pre-conceptions to be messed with. Like a psychological game of tennis, the ball marked blame is batted to and fro across the court of public opinion. Talk show hosts act as totally biased umpires, steering the conversation whichever way increases the ratings.
Based on the best seller and adapted for the screen by the author Gillian Flynn, the screenplay trims away any superfluous details in the story, what remains is a fair adaptation of the book.
David Fincher best known for messing with audiences heads, here plays it largely straight, with a mostly linear story albeit with time deviations to allow the plot to unfold. There are neat touches, news crew light-bulb flashes from the lawn outside, neatly displayed on the family cat as it stares benignly through the front door.
The film is not as dark as one might expect but be prepared for violence when it arrives, the swearing is ever present although not unjustified for the story being told.
The story perhaps takes the secrets and lies in all marriages and pumps them up with steroids. Affleck certainly no stranger to public attention in real life, can certainly relate to the public persona aspects of the story.
Affleck is solid, playing a doofus who has snared a catch and yet, not quite sure of the fish he has caught. Arguably he remains himself and perhaps exhibits more talent behind the camera than in front but overall acquits himself well enough.
Pike however takes the screen and holds onto it with both hands, demanding the audiences attention as the story plays out, an A-list calling card if ever there was one.
The book keeps the twists and turns fresher on the page but comparing books to films is a futile exercise, they are different mediums altogether.
An excellent thriller, best watched with no foreknowledge of the story that will unfold. A long film but necessary to flesh out the complexities of a modern marriage.
With a star making turn from Rosamund Pike and solid support from her co-stars, Amy is amazing indeed.