Pretend you just read a witty title for this post, okay? I was trying to come up with some stuff, but I got nothing.
Also WordPress has changed its layout since my last time here, so….I’m just like…whaaaaaat? Or maybe that’s because it’s 2:00 AM. I don’t do sleep very well. Some of you may remember the time I had to make up a story for myself just to try to coax some sleep out of my overly stimulated brain.
So! Instead of sleep, here’s a story. I was waiting on a youngish couple at work, and I asked them if they had plans for the evening. They told me they were going to see a movie called Gone Girl. I had not heard of this movie, but when I was told it was based on a book, I was sold. I hit up the ol’ B&N and I bought the book. Believe it or not, I am going to do yet another book/movie review for you, but this one is going to be sans spoilers.
How? I don’t know. I just can’t bear to ruin it for you. I won’t do that.
The book didn’t wow me at first. Author Gyllian Flynn definitely captured a tone for her two narrators, both disillusioned writers who attempted to overcompensate for their lack of recognition by filling their narration with dramatic tones, hyperbole, and ten-dollar words. It worked to establish them as characters, but I felt the first few chapters were a slog. Then it happened: I was reading late at night, because sleep is for people who don’t have books to read late at night, and suddenly my eyes were wide open. I was reading voraciously. It was difficult to put the damn thing down, even though I felt well and truly tired.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. Is it insane? Abso-freaking-lutely!!
Seriously! It’s crazy. It’s just like…whoa, what? No. I can’t. But I will! Because the fun ride! What a fun ride!
See, I’m a mystery writer’s ideal audience, because I don’t like to try to figure out whodunnit on my own. I love being taken along for the ride. Just getting in the rollercoaster without trying to figure out who…built it. Or where it’s going. This metaphor only slightly works. Sorry.
Anyway, it does require some suspension of disbelief. It really does. I mean…I almost had to take my disbelief out back and shoot it. But it was so worth it! Now, I’m going to add here that if you are the type of person who isn’t easily taken for a ride by a mystery novel, you might read it and figure out what’s going on way before the big reveal. Then it’s probably anticlimactic.
Flynn’s strength was the first person narration. As I read, I thought, “How could she possibly cast suspicion on this person when we are literally seeing everything happen through their eyes?” But it works. She manages to cast just the right amount of doubt, and she establishes that neither of her narrators are 100% reliable.
The other strength was this amazing ability to build a ton of sympathy for a character, only to destroy it and make you hate them, only to make your root for them again. And that’s where I feel the movie lost me a little bit. The movie’s pacing was way better than the book’s, but it sacrificed a lot of character and relationship development to do that I think. What does this mean as far as my recommendation goes? Read the book and see the movie. They balance and complement each other perfectly. Even though I knew what was going to happen going into the movie, I still found it incredibly entertaining. It left me with so much stuff I wanted to talk about that I ended up taking notes right there in the dark, using a purple pen and my ticket stub.
And then when I ran out of room on the ticket/couldn’t see where I was writing, I switched to my hand.
I know this post is running long, so I’m just going to touch on each point briefly.
1. Pacing – already done
2. Tone – I have no fucking clue what I wanted to say about it. It was well established and good? I think so.
3. Volvo – Seriously how many movies has Volvo made possible? Are they trying to make up for Twilight? Just wondering.
4. Line Delivery – I liked the movie, but I couldn’t help smiling at the kind of sedate, serious well…line delivery. The way the actors talked it was all:
Even the jokes were sometimes delivered like a eulogy. Just watch it. You’ll understand what I’m talking about.
5. Boney’s Looks – Here is Rhonda Boney’s description from the book:
The woman was surprisingly ugly — brazenly, beyond the scope of everyday ugly: tiny round eyes set tight as buttons, a long twist of a nose, skin spackled with tiny bumps, long lank hair the color of a dust bunny.
— Gone Girl, 33
Look up a picture of Kim Dickens, the actress who played Detective Boney. She is gorgeous. I despise the fact that Hollywood is so loath to cast ugly people or even “ugly” people. Everyone has to have divinely good looks. Just a little nitpick.
6. Narration – It seems like every movie that’s based on a book has to have some element of narration in it. Not every movie I guess, but a lot of them. This one started out with a wee bit, and I got worried, but they quickly did away with it. There was some more later, technically, because there is a voiceover of Amy reading her diary entries, but it would have been hard to incorporate that crucial element any other way. It was an excellent framing device in the book and the movie.
7. NPH – Neil Patrick Harris. I’ve never been a huge, drooling fangirl over him. He’s cute and sweet, and clearly he loves his husband and kids, but hey…never got into How I met Your Mother. I’m not a fan of laugh tracks. Then he’s in this, and wow. He does a wonderfully subtle, believable severely disturbed psychopath (believe it or not, this is not much of a spoiler). I give him props for this role.
7.5 RP – Side note, I am a drooling fangirl over Rosamund Pike. That woman is gorgeous.
8. Sympathy – Already talked about above.
9. People’s Reactions – It was great listening to other moviegoers’ reactions to the ending. Clearly they’d had no idea what was coming, and it was interesting. They were not nearly as infuriated as I was when I finished the book, but they had definitely reacted to the curve ball they’d been thrown. And that’s what Flynn does; she throws curve balls. I was severely pissed at her for the way the book (and subsequently the movie) ended, but I also had to offer her grudging respect for it.
This book is going on the Recommend list. And the movie!
Long post, I know. Read then watch, folks. That’s the TL;DR version.
Also watch Movie Bob talk about it. He says everything I’m thinking but much more succinctly. Click here for his review.