By KATE LEAVER
(SPOILER ALERT: To talk at all interestingly about the book/film Gone Girl, I’m going to have to talk about plot twists and endings. You know that. Read on at your own peril and by the way, if you haven’t read or watched the most anticipated movie adaptation of a novel since Pride and Prejudice, what are you doing with your life? Just kidding. Sort of.)
Gone Girl the movie is already a disgusting success.
Since its opening on the weekend, it’s made $38 million in ticket sales. It’s the #1 movie here, in the US, in Britain, and elsewhere. Modern civilization is now divided into two groups: Those who have seen Gone Girl, and those who have not.
Quickly: Gone Girl is a thriller about a beautiful, murderous psychopath called Amy (Rosamund Pike).
Amy is unhappily married to a guy called Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck), who cheats on her with one of his bare-breasted students (the girl from the Blurred Lines film clip). As revenge, Amy meticulously frames Nick for her own murder. She lies about being pregnant, she lies about being beaten, she kills her high school sweetheart with a box-cutter halfway through sex and later claims it was a romantic gesture to win her husband back.
She is all kinds of evil.
Amy Dunne is a sensational villain. She’s blood-thirsty, ruthless, and beguiling. And when’s the last time you saw or read such a complex, fascinating female villain? We rarely, if ever, get fully-formed evil women in our literature or on our screens.
That probably explains the mad reaction to this film.
In a scramble to make sense of having a vicious female lead, everyone is trying to make a fable out of a movie. Critics, journalists, people who walk into a cinema with popcorn and expectations – they’re all trying to pin this movie to a Big Social Message. Is it about domestic violence and the toxicity of an abusive relationship? Is it about feminism? Is it about misogyny? Is Gone Girl a neat little parable on the horrors of married life?
For Jezebel writer Jessica Coen, Gone Girl is about marriage. It’s about that eerie idea that no matter how dedicated you are to another human being, do you ever really know them? And can emotional negligence turn love into evil?