Thriller embraces reverse gender roles with strong female lead

Gone Girl is a drama and thriller that reverses the gender roles typically seen in the media. Directed by David Fincher and starring Rosamund Pike, Ben Affleck and Neil Patrick Harris, the film premiered in theaters on Oct. 3. Based on the thriller novel by Gillian Flynn, the film centers on Nick Dunn––played by Affleck––who is framed for the disappearance and possible murder of his wife Amy Dunn––played by Pike––by his wife herself. Gone Girl begins as any romantic film would, sharing the story of how the couple met. Amy is introduced as a New York-bred, successful writer and daughter of two authors who provide her with a trust fund. On the other hand, Nick is laid-back and alluring.

One notable scene is a heated moment of passion unlike any from the other suspense or even romance films I’ve ever seen. As Amy and Nick make love for the first time, the camera takes a delicate—and unique—moment to focus on the pleasure of the female lead. Instead of a typical sex scene, Nick is the one who performs oral sex, adding to the empowerment of this strong female character.

The film soon tumbles into a sequence of events that lead to the disappearance of Amy. Through the perspective of Amy, we see Nick become distant and constantly at edge. Eventually tension builds because of money issues and more, and the love they once had is gone.

Word about Amy’s mysterious disappearance spreads like wildfire and soon all of the town, media and police become involved. Nick is made to look like a careless fool by the media, and the police and town begin to suspect him of murdering his wife.

Meanwhile, Pike’s character develops from victim to victimizer––this is where the actress’ strong acting chops are revealed. Both mentally and emotionally unstable, Amy is revealed to be playing games. As the film develops, we learn more about Amy and her past relationships and inconsistent personality. Pike’s impressive and dynamic acting overpowers that of Affleck’s. Perhaps this is meant to contrast with the character of Nick, who becomes a pariah in his own town and all over television.

The film takes a sharp turn of events and the audience is left confused to many extremes. Affleck’s character is at first an easy and culpable target, but interestingly enough becomes the victim of the film. This is a rare occurrence for a male lead, and unlike the usual roles that Affleck himself plays.

Despite the length of Gone Girl—149 minutes total—it is a slow but steady progression that makes sense considering the careful consideration of the complexity of each character and the overall plot of the film itself. What will surprise viewers even more is the peculiar and unexpected ending.


Rating: 4.5/5