Not only is Gillian Flynn's missing person thriller Gone Girl quite the page-turner, it's also a fascinating book in terms of its exploration of gender roles and, in particular, relationships between men and women. It's difficult to go into much detail without treading upon spoiler territory, but David Fincher's upcoming film adaptation of Gone Girl looks like it could do an excellent job of bringing the novel's power dynamics and narrative layers to the screen.
Gone Girl stars Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, an out-of-work journalist who moves back to his small home town to care for his sick mother, bringing his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) with him. On their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing and signs of a struggle in their house indicate that something very bad may have happened to her. With a fascinated public and media gradually turning against him, Nick is left to follow the clues in Amy's traditional romantic treasure hunt, to try and find out what really happened to his wife.
To create a poignant contrast to the dark subject matter, the first teaser for Gone Girl used a cover version of Charles Aznavour's ultra-romantic love song "She." Notting Hill it's definitely not, but speaking in an interview with Empire both Fincher and Affleck described Gone Girl as the "perfect date movie" - though for different reasons. While Fincher joked (at least, we think he has joking) that Gone Girl is the date movie to "end 15 million marriages," Affleck had a different take on it.
"I actually think this is the perfect date movie, not because I think it'll result in divorce - I think that's just David's fantasy - but because it's the kind of movie that a husband and wife could talk about afterwards. I think a man and a woman would have different takes on what happens. The last time I was in a movie that I thought polarised men and women in an interesting way was 'Chasing Amy.' That was quite some time ago."
After scratching at the surface just a little, it becomes clear that the Dunnes' marriage isn't as idyllic as it might look from the outside. The trailers have shown glimpses of the couple exchanging cold glances and engaging in what looks like a violent altercation, as well as the chilling words from Amy's diary: "This man may truly kill me."
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In a new set of images from Gone Girl, Pike is shown filming an "underwater" scene that has been glimpsed in the trailers, in which Amy's body is seen sinking into the water wrapped in a sheet (those who are worried about this being a spoiler, remember that Fincher isn't shy about using dream sequences and non-literal imagery in his films). When asked by Empire what she thinks Gone Girl is about, Pike also indicated that it will make its audiences re-examine their ideas about marriage.
"That aspect of marriage as a con game, or whatever. The idea that we perform a sort of ideal version of ourselves that the other person wants. We perhaps belie our true nature in order to perform to the ideal. David and I talked a lot about living in an age of rampant narcissism."
Gone Girl's supporting cast includes Neil Patrick Harris as Desi Collings, an ex-boyfriend of Amy's who makes a suspicious reappearance after she goes missing, Tyler Perry as Nick's lawyer Tanner Bolt, and Carrie Coon as Margo Dunne, Nick's sister. Gone Girl definitely looks like it could be a great date movie... but maybe not for a first date.
Gone Girl will release in theaters on October 3, 2014.