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Gone Girl: Book vs. Movie

Yesterday I’ve published my review for Fincher’s Gone Girl and I’ve tried to avoid spoilers at all cost but now, it’s time for me to explore the movie and the book and make a small comparison. If you’re expecting one of those adaptations that are only faithful to the main plot of the book I can guarantee you that this is not the case. The fact that the book’s author, Gillian Flynn is the responsible for the screen adaptation actually makes everything more interesting. There aren’t big differences with the book and from my perspective (the one from a guy who loved the book) this is probably one of the most faithful adaptations I’ve seen. Gone Girl is violent, raw and thrilling from the beginning to the end… A story about a crappy marriage that is about to change for worse after the wife’s disappearance. The influence of the media in the case is one of the strongest and more realistic details of the story because it represents the way politics are made and how a guy can easily be judged without any evidence. After watching the movie, for those who’ve read the book, here’s a description of what you won’t find in Fincher’s adaptation.

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From missing characters to some events that happen in a different way, Fincher’s adaptation is reliable and thankfully the movie allows its viewers to experience everything the readers have. Nick and Amy’s relationship began in a somehow different way. Yes they met in a party and after they leave they walk towards a local bakery where they immerse themselves in a cloud of powdered sugar. But their relationship has only actually begun several months after, when Amy runs into Nick and he claims to have lost her number. Most of the anniversary clues and most of the locations were shown in the movie. From Nick’s father’s house (the alarm code deal and the place where Amy’s semi-burned diary was found) to the woodshed close to Margo’s house (the male sanctuary), the most essential parts of the treasure hunt are there. Only the clue that leads Nick to Hannibal, Missouri, is missing.

Yep, the ending is a bit different but it’s not in the way everyone is expecting. A week after Amy’s return, Nick starts writing a book about his side of the story so that he can leave her forever. Night after night Nick kept furiously typing his story while Amy began working on her memoirs too for a book called Amazing. This is not in the movie. Instead, Fincher’s adaptation focuses more on the troubled relationship they were living after Amy’s revelation that she was pregnant and that Nick was the father. Nick and Andie relationship also ends in a way it’s not shown in the book. While she wanted attention every day, Nick felt like he was trapped and because he couldn’t manage all the pressure he decided to abandon her. He tells her that if they don’t broke up he’s going to end up in jail but the only thing she believes in is that he likes Amy and he was only with her to have some fun. After the breakup she bites one of his cheeks and for the days that followed everyone kept asking Nick what was wrong with his face.

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In the novel, Nick walks into a bar after watching his own crowded and after there he meets a young crime blogger who wants to interview him. Drunk, he decides to use the opportunity to control the story by telling how sorry he was for failing his wife. The video goes viral and suddenly the public opinion became mixed. None of this is shown in the movie. Not even Betsy Bolt, a former TV news anchor and Tanner’s wife, involved in Nick’s training before his big interview. Jacqueline Collings also doesn’t appear in the movie at all so we don’t see her claiming for her son’s innocence.

One of Amy’s high school victims was also left out of the scene but besides all this, which are not that relevant things to the story, everything is faithful to the book. Andie, Nick’s father and Amy’s parents have less importance in the movie but Fincher and Flynn did a terrific job by condensing the entire novel in two hours and a half filled with thrilling events and strong emotions. Gone Girl is an obligatory thriller for everyone.

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Gone Girl

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  • Directed by: David Fincher
  • With: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris
  • 149 Minutes

One of the most anticipated movies of the year and clearly a both audience and critic’s favorite, Gone Girl is another adaptation from a New York Times Bestseller considered book of the year by several known publications. Written by Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl is a strong, thrilling and powerful novel capable of shock, entertain and getting the attention of its readers from the beginning to the end. Before watching the movie, I’ve read the book and I must confess that I felt so addicted to the story that it was impossible to dislike it. The tension and the surprising factor constantly present, page after page, allowed me one of the best reading experiences I ever had (no, I’m not a book expert but trust me reading this book is a truly exciting experience). So when we gather a great and solid story with David Fincher’s talent, the probability of failure is really small and the performances of Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike alongside with Gillian Flynn’s adaptation of the book to the big screen made me feel just the same way the book did.

It was Nick and Amy’s marriage anniversary (to be more precise, the fifth) and Nick was having a casual conversation with his twin sister Margo at the bar he owned when a neighbor calls to say that the door of his house was open. When Nick arrives there, their house seems to be a crime scene from CSI and he decides to call the police immediately. Detective Boney and office Gilpin were called to the place and their thoughts were not in harmony when it came to Nick. While she thought he was innocent, he thought he was guilty but to make everything worse, Amy was known by everyone as the Amazing Amy from the children book collection with the same name, which prevented them from investigating quietly. Suddenly all the town was involved and doing the best they could to find the poor woman but when all the evidences are against Nick, he needs to be honest with everyone because the smallest mistake might trigger a wave of hate against him.

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Without revealing details about the story, I tried to explain in a really summarized paragraph the plot of the movie but it’s impossible to tell you how good it is without revealing compromising details about the story.     The book was already a big hit and honestly I thought the movie was going to be pretty good but not in the way it ended up being. First, if there’s one thing I enjoyed a lot about Gone Girl is the fact that the characters are not plain and their emotions, feelings and actions are constantly changing and evolving which ends up creating a sense of amusing development that is indeed quite interesting. Instead of having good and bad characters, the events of the story turn this distinction a quite difficult task. Since, the characters haven’t a strict line of thoughts and since their actions are constantly changing my opinions on them it’s really hard to not feel amused with the idea of watching Hollywood actors interpreting really complex characters. Nick is like an egocentric and good looking guy who likes to take advantage of his coolness to attract girls. In Gone Girl, Nick is constantly smiling for the pictures and attracting attention from the feminine genre. When he met Amy, she was a cool girl enjoying new experiences so they clicked almost instantly but as the time passed, their marriage started becoming more aggressive, less intimate and interesting and both of them weren’t able to comfort each other. Detective Boney was constantly defending Nick’s innocence until a body was found and she’s one of his supporters during the movie. Ellen Abbott and Noelle are like the captains of Team Amy and they try to take advantage of Nick’s mistakes and secrets to change everyone’s opinion about him. At last but not the least, there’s Desi Collings, one of Amy’s ex-boyfriends from high school who had a big crush on her and who was constantly trying to reach her with love letters. Together these characters work in a harmonic tone that can collapse in just a single second. Ben Affleck did a good job, compared with his previous movies. He was a great Nick and the way he looked was really similar with the book’s descriptions. Nick’s transformation is drastic and tough and his personality and way of behaving is not easy to define which kind of makes the task of interpreting this character really hard. Rosamund Pike was also a great Amy and was capable to reflect every single emotion and detail of the character’s personality. Amy is a really dark character that is tired of watching her love for Nick ignored. She is a strong woman and in a two characters act she is the most dominant player of the game. Neil Patrick Harris was a disturbed Desi, just like Flynn described in her book and I must say that after watching so many episodes of HIMYM this transformation was a bit scary and weird but the final result was really appealing. Overall, the performances were really great and thanks to that it’s possible for the viewer to experience the emotions and feelings that the story is capable to create.

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But Fincher’s Gone Girl works really well in every single component of film making. The cinematography is great with some great shots and sequences that are able to give something more to the story. The soundtrack is another strong point with mysterious tones and songs that fit perfectly in the entire movie and I must say that Gillian Flynn did a great job adapting her most famous novel. The plot is really faithful to the novel, but I will leave details for a spoiler talk I will publish really soon and the tension Fincher added to the story worked in a great way. The story of Gone Girl is the definition of intriguing and it’s able to captivate and impress most of moviegoers. The disappearance of Amy, the media manipulation and the way the public opinion influences cases like this are the three most important facts of the movie and together with a bit of drama they keep the viewer interested and captivated and while the story develops, there  are several shocking moments that will make your head go crazy. Surprising and thrilling, this is a rare thriller that demands to be seen because the story is amazing and its complex characters will share some dark and tough moments. In 149 minutes Fincher presented a vision of Gone Girl  that has all the potential of the novel and that complements it with a more visual and graphic experience. For those wondering whether it’s best to do first or what gives the best experience, watch the movie or read the book, I would advise you to watch the movie first and then complement it with the book because in the next few days spoilers will come out and this is a story that takes advantage of the surprise effect.

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For the fans of the novel, Fincher’s Gone Girl won’t disappoint because it’s perhaps one of the best adaptations I’ve seen so far. It has everything the book has, from the specific jokes to the display of emotions, and this is probably thanks to Gillian Flynn who contributed with her vision for the movie. The story is intense, powerful and demands some attention with details. The characters are constantly evolving and there are life-changing events in the story that made everything really flexible and more complex. Your opinion regarding the characters will change while you’re watching the movie and I must say that based on the movie’s early opinions and on the reactions after the screening I attended, Gone Girl has what it takes to become one of this year’s most successful movies. The acting was good and even Tyller Perry did a good work as Tanner Bolt, Nick’s charismatic lawyer. In the end, everything mixed, the whole Gone Girl experience is advisable for everyone. It’s violent, shocking and amazing, it’s what the fans were asking for and it fulfilled all my expectations. Fans of thrillers, fans of romances and those who like to watch only the best movies of the year, Gone Girl is out there and it will haunt your minds. Thrilling, captivating and exciting, with this movie, David Fincher proves once again that he is an amazing directors. Is Amy dead or alive? Is Nick guilty? How does it feel like to live with a person we don’t know anymore? Gone Girl has the answers to these questions… Simply amazing!

★★★★★

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