THIS FILM SHOULD have been titled “Gone Boy,” the boy being Ben Affleck, Oscar winner for the fabulous “ARGO” a few years back. In his place we have that other Ben, the one who looks like a frat boy past his prime and turns in lackluster performances one mercifully soon forgets. (I’m looking forward to that.) But since he neither directed nor wrote this one he is to be congratulated and remains in my good graces.
Simply stated, “Gone Girl” is not a date movie. In fact, if you are already considering marriage this will surely talk you out of it. A close look at the hellish relationship between a beautiful nutcase and her philandering husband, there is little to recommend it other than some solid performances from people you’ve never heard of before and likely won’t ever again. It’s grisly, creepy and suspenseful, with plenty of Hitchcockian twists and questions to keep you guessing: Did he kill his wife, is she dead or just missing, and why did any of them sign on to this film are just a few.
And then there’s gay actor Neil Patrick Harris playing a straight guy, which is always fun to watch. To say he’s memorable in his one very explicit and very memorable sex scene is an understatement; in fact if you’re the sensitive type, you may never have sex again. Let’s just say it rivals the horse-head scene in “The Godfather” and leave it at that.
The roller coaster plot is demanding, so you’d best go to the bathroom beforehand. Even paying strict attention, there are a few loopholes you could justifiably slip through and wonder what the heck is happening. The eponymous gone girl (played by Rosamund Pike) might give a great performance but I hated her guts from the get-go and never did learn her real name.
Also of note was the appearance of the Magical Negro, a ploy we haven’t seen for a few years. Played by the newly slimmed-down Tyler Perry as a respected and lovable celebrity lawyer who saves Affleck’s ass, it was quite refreshing. By the way, Mr. Perry now looks quite smashing and if you ask me should be the new spokesperson for Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers or however he did it.
Andrea Rouda blogs at “Call Me Madcap.”