entertainment

Excited about seeing Gone Girl on the weekend? Read this first.

The book.

By BERN MORLEY

So, I went to see Gone Girl. And we really need to talk about it.

Usually, when people aren’t pleased with how a book is adapted to the screen, it has to do with irresponsible casting or because the original storyline has been in some way, compromised. I can’t say that’s why I didn’t enjoy Gone Girl when I saw it earlier this week. In fact, I’d say I was the complete opposite.

Director, David Fincher (The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and most notably, Fight Club) has undeniably, done a superb, slick job of bringing author Gillian Flynn’s novel to life.

The casting of Ben Affleck as Nick, and Rosamund Pike as Amy is also hard to fault. I’ll admit I was curious how they would adequately portray both sides of this damaging and at times, baffling to the reader, thriller yet this seemed effortless in the way it was filmed.

It wasn’t even the adaption can often ruin your mental picture of the character. My problem with the movie was that it was simply too true to the book. As a fan of the novel, I already knew the plot, the twists and how it ended. So when it came to sitting down in that theatre for just over 2 and half arse-numbingly long hours, I didn’t sustain one surprise. And if I’m honest, I was…just…bored.

Gone Girl is a novel written by acclaimed author Gillian Flynn. It is, ultimately, a whodunit. Nick and Amy Dunne are the perfect couple, living the perfect life until Amy goes missing and Nick becomes, quite believably, the prime suspect. Yet, of course, not everything is as it seems and through the benefit of narration on both sides, you soon get a picture of what’s really going on. Did he do it? If he did, did Amy, in a way almost deserve it?

These are the questions you find yourself repeatedly asking during the read, or if you haven’t read it, during the movie. It is also being promoted as a perfect ‘date night’ movie. Well sure, if you want to sleep with one eye open for the rest of your life, then yeah, it’s perfect.

Neither of the two main characters are particularly likeable but if you’ve read the book, you’ll not have a terrible time, you just won’t be all that enlightened or surprised. Oh except for the bit where you see a microsecond of Ben Affleck’s penis, (apparently, I missed it because I was at this stage, in a coma).

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Maybe my mistake was that I’d started reading the book for a second time *just* before I went to watch it so it was fresh in mind. I have what I like to refer to as ‘Book Amnesia” whereby, after about a year, I tend to forget the finer details of a book I’ve read, such as the plot or the ending. This isn’t such a bad thing because it allows me to keep rereading great books, over and over. But as such, I remembered a) why I liked it so much the first time around and b) why the movie never had a hope of living up to the brilliance of Gillian’s words.

The difference between the book and the movie are of course, with a book comes a narrative voice which allows you to not only interpret it how you wish but also lets you get lost in your own imagination. Movies only go one way, the way it visually appears on the screen in front of you. And if they get that wrong, well, the whole thing can be ruined.

Watching a book being misinterpreted on the big screen is like hearing a teenage boy-band auto-tune the shit out of a cover of your favourite Fleetwood Mac song. At first you are just angry and then, slowly, a little small part of you dies.

This of course, is not always the case. There are some notable exceptions to the rule.

For example, here are some movies they managed to make greater than the book they were adapted from:

Often though, we find that the book we adored simply doesn’t quite translate and we get to taste nothing but disappoint.

Most notably:

I get it, I understand that people make movies to make money. What translates on the page doesn’t always effortlessly do so onto the big screen. Does this mean though, that filmmakers should change the storyline or bastardise it in such a way that it ruins it?

I will say this about Gone Girl. If you haven’t read the book, there is a high chance you will love it. Even if you have, there is also every reason for you to love it. This is just one opinion. Film critic website, Rotten Tomatoes currently scores it a 87% in favour. So I’d love to hear back from you when you do see it.

What about you though? Have you ever wondered why they did THAT to your favourite book when they adapted it to the big screen?

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