Gone Girl – David Fincher

Gone Girl starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike

Gone Girl starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike

How well do you know your spouse? That is the question that forms the premise of Gone Girl, David Fincher’s latest masterpiece that stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as “Nick” and “Amy”, a couple struggling through their marriage as the movie begins on the morning of their 5th Anniversary. It is on this day that Amy disappears and Nick is suddenly thrown into a tumultuous investigation where he is the prime suspect. It begins slowly, with a lot of questions and clues, and progressively ramps up until it grabs a hold of you and doesn’t let go.

This is not the first glowing review for Gone Girl, nor will it be the last. It’s an odd mix of thriller, mystery, and drama with enough giggle-worthy dialogue thrown into it to make it truly unique. It is gripping from the very beginning and hangs on to your attention until the credits roll. Gone Girl‘s running time is 2 hours and 29 minutes but it never feels forced or dragged out. In fact, the only disappointment was that it ended at all.

Aside from Affleck, who is perfect in his role of the lost husband making all the wrong moves in the ensuing media storm, the cast of females in the film is what gives it it’s punch. Rosamund Pike is truly amazing, and saying anything else beyond that would be giving too much away (it is a film that relies on suspense and genuine shock, so providing any more details in a review would be a disservice). Supporting actress Carrie Coon takes on the role as the bold, tell-it-like-it-is twin sister “Margo” and Kim Dickens is the bright lead detective assigned to the case. Both are very compelling and often funny as “Nick” slowly pieces everything together surrounding his wife’s sudden disappearance.

The movie is based on a best selling novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, and one can only imagine how good the book is based on the success and reception of the film so far. Given the detail in the movie, it’s hard to believe there could be more to the story that just didn’t make the cut.

The instant buzzing of discussion and the looks of pure astonishment and joy on the faces of the movie-goers once Gone Girl ended said it all. It’s still early, with Oscar season right around the corner, but this is easily the best movie of the year (so far).

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The Drop – Michaël R. Roskam

The Drop starring the late James Gandolfini,  Tom Hardy, and Noomi Rapace

Dennis Lehane, the author of  Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone that were famously adapted into award-winning films with amazing ensemble casts, brings us another adaptation of one of his short stories called The Drop. Teaming up with Director Michaël R. Roskam, they deliver a film that in many ways has the same feel to it as those other crime dramas but is significantly less disturbing than the two mentioned above.

The film takes place in a gritty part of Brooklyn where the local watering hole doubles as the occasional “drop bar” for the city’s thugs and their money. Tom Hardy plays bartender “Bob” who just tries to keep his head down and his nose out of everyone’s business but his own. The late great James Gandolfini, in his final role before his unfortunate death, plays “Cousin Marv” the bar’s acting manager who now answers to some mean Chechens after losing ownership of the bar some years ago. Things start going wrong when the pair are robbed early on in the film, and the rest just follows from there.

There isn’t much to the film in terms of plot but it never feels that way. We follow Bob as he rescues a Pitbull puppy and takes on the responsibility of being a dog owner with the help of a woman played by Noomi Rapace (Prometheus, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). As usual, Tom Hardy all but disappears into the character. He’s quiet, calculating, maybe a little naive, and yet it always seems like there’s something else hiding behind his sad puppy dog eyes and small smirk that makes a very rare appearance on screen. Noomi Rapace is equally as good as a woman with her own secrets.

It’s a slow-burning film but it never loses your interest as you try to piece everything together. The odd scene will actually generate some laughs, or at least some chuckles, and are mostly brought on by Bob’s tell-it-like-it-is attitude, which also makes him the only truly loveable character in the film, next to Rocco the puppy of course.

The Drop is a drama through and through but there is enough intrigue and there are enough moments that lighten the mood in order to sustain most viewers, even those who typically prefer more action to dialogue. It is possible, however, that some will find it a little too dull and seriously lacking in the shoot-em-up department. So those people looking for a lot of action and a true crime thriller will be a little disappointed but will likely still enjoy the film because as a viewer you really do want to find out where the story is going and how everything turns out for each character. Whether you notice it or not, you’re invested.