The Cinefessions crew loves sharing their opinions on films, but not every movie can get the attention it deserves with a full review. Enter the Cinefessions’ Capsule Reviews. These capsule reviews cover five of the most important aspects of a film, which allow the crew to deliver their opinions on any movie clearly, decisively, and with brevity. These are not our full thoughts on any film, just a highlighting of the major pros and/or cons.


gonegirlTitle: Gone Girl (2014)
Director: David Fincher
Runtime: 149 minutes

Acting
Gone Girl is a frustrating film, and this category is a good representation of that. The acting is fine. Ben Affleck, Carrie Coon, Tyler Perry, and Kim Dickens all do a great job. Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris (who I absolutely adore) are disappointments, but for different reasons. Pike’s character is one of the most unlikable I’ve seen in quite some time, and I hated her when the script was trying to make me love her. Pike plays the character as this fake sociopath from start to finish, and it doesn’t work as well as it needs to in order for me to give a shit about the character’s outcome. NPH, on the other hand, tries to “act” too much by presenting a character that has mental instabilities instead of just living the role. NHP is an excellent actor, so I imagine most of the blame falls on the character itself rather than NPH’s portrayal.

Story & Script
I will say it right now: Gone Girl is not a movie worth watching. The script intentionally takes you on so many twists and turns that it’s laughable. It is filled with unlikable characters that do unlikable things and nothing is resolved. There is seemingly no point to any of it rather than telling a story for the sake of hearing one’s own voice. It feels like film masturbation, and I couldn’t be more disappointed. Gone Girl follows the story of “Amazing Amy”, and how she goes missing one day. The police obviously zero in on her husband, Nick, and things start going crazy from there. While the first hour is a mystery – Where did Amy go? Is she dead? Who killed her? – but that quickly dissolves into something else entirely…and then does so again about another hour later. It’s all just so damn silly. Sure some of the plot points surprised me, and there was even a moment during the film where I was genuinely intrigued. Unfortunately, the script tries to one up the audience a few too many times, and the whole point of the story is completely lost somewhere along the way.

Direction
I adore David Fincher, and until today, loved everything I’d seen of his. That’s why I bought Gone Girl, blind, even though one of the people whose opinion I trust most – Cinefession’s Chris Ranson – warned me otherwise. Chris, you were right and I was wrong. To be fair, though, Fincher isn’t really the problem with Gone Girl as he didn’t write the script. He does his best to find some moments of tension, film some beautiful shots, find humor in all the right places, and make the audience genuinely care for a couple of minutes. But not even Fincher could excuse the rest of Gone Girl’s problems.

Intangibles
When I dislike a character, I am very vocal about it when watching a film with my wife. I hate spending time with the majority of the people in this movie for different reasons, and that’s not a positive critique. I understand that some of the characters were built to be hated, but everything about these people felt fake and forced. Amy’s parents are especially guilty of this. This just leaves me uncaring, and then add on the final act, which makes it all seem so damned pointless. It makes for a negative viewing experience.

Rewatchability
Yeah, not happening. This is a long-winded film that doesn’t need a second viewing.

The Verdict
Gone Girl is not worth watching. It’s a major disappointment, and proves that even the finest directors can fall flat every once in a while. Ben Affleck is great, as his Carrie Coon, but that’s not enough to make this nearly three-hour, bloated, farce of a film worth your time.

one_and_a_half_stars

Branden Chowen
Editor-in-Chief at Cinefessions
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn't until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor's and master's degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.