Book-to-movie adaptations can be a tricky thing. There are a lot of elements to be considered when translating literature onto the silver screen. First, you have to stay true to the source material while still working within the traditional timeframe of a feature film. Then, you also have to make sure that you win over new admirers without upsetting original fans by blaspheming the text. Furthermore, the director must affix his stamp on the piece without overriding the initial inspiration.
In short, it’s like working through a difficult marriage—constant compromise, butt-loads of hard work, and a hell of pain and gain.
Gone Girl, based on writer Gillian Flynn’s critically acclaimed novel of the same title, is an astute example of a killer (and we mean killer!) movie adaptation. Directed by the ever-so-brooding David Fincher from a screenplay by Flynn herself, the romantic thriller tells the story of Nick and Amy Dunne, two laid-off magazine writers whose lives are turned upside down when Amy goes missing on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary.
It’s hard to talk more about the film’s plot without delving into any spoilers. But you can bet your wife on it, its spine-chilling suspenseful, morally biting, and darkly hilarious–a modern day satire of marriage gone awry. Although the union in the movie is far from holy, it’s the collaboration of Fincher and Flynn that gives the thriller its grating edge. With their morbid signature styles, the two artists successfully meld their minds, spawning an effective emotional hit-and-run that’s sure to toy with and leave audiences unnerved.
We fanboy-ed so much on this sick love affair that we couldn’t help culling together five more reasons why the Fincher x Flynn partnership is a match made in hell!
1) DARK MATTERS
Both Fincher and Flynn exact a specific tone and mood when it comes to their storytelling.
For Fincher, there’s a sense of social dread that looms over his narratives. From the opulence of choosing self-destruction over self-preservation in Fight Club, to the consequences of greed in The Social Network, to the oft-violent solidarity of cyberpunk princess Lisbeth Salander in neo-noir The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, he creates potent cinematic experiences that dwell on dark existential themes of the human psyche.
Flynn on the other hand has written three novels to date: her debut Sharp Objects, her sophomore outing Dark Places, and her biggest hit yet, the aforementioned Gone Girl. Like Fincher, her stories are orchestrated in the shadows, only with messed-up anti-heroines that are as disgusting as they are endearing.
2) MURDER ON THEIR MINDS
Fincher is no stranger to the entertainment value of a haunting homicide. All you need to do is scan through his repertoire of movies to see that bloodshed is an object of interest. Gumshoe detectives Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman try to outwit a serial killer playing out the seven deadly sins in Se7en, while Zodiac is a retelling of Northern California’s Zodiac murders.
Flynn fancies a slaughter or two herself–Sharp Objects being set in a small town where an alcoholic journalist must find the key to solve the brutal slayings of young girls whose teeth have been yanked off, while Dark Places centers on a woman whose memory of her family’s vicious massacre has left her estranged from her older brother.
No wonder Gone Girl is such a hit. These two have the gruesome images on their minds and know how to use it to their advantage. The plot of Gone Girl propels forward through a series of hallucinatory flashbacks, courtesy of Amy Dunne’s diary. Superimposed with the ongoing search for Amy in the present, the story unravels by posing the question: Is Amy simply missing or was she murdered?
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Spoilers ahead—read at your own risk