Most people have been rushing off to the cinema to watch the film of Gillian Flynn’s fantastic book due to the rave reviews it got. Having read the book when it first came out I was keen to see if the movie lived up to it. However I made a fatal mistake in re-reading the book before seeing the film which only served to show me what the film missed out on.
Amy Dunne is so much more complex than her portrayal in the film. Also she didn’t ‘turn evil’ due to Nick, she always has been. She started manipulating people and situations long before Nick came along. Sadly due to the removal of Hilary Handy and Desi’s mother you don’t really see that side of her.
Nick Dunne can’t help but smile on camera – he is so aware of his good looks and the fact that people hate him for them that he constantly strives to be endearing. He has a desperate need to be liked and fails to realise that in this circumstance his usual ways of charming people will completely work against him.
What the film does do well is keep in all the little idiosyncrasies from the book where you go ‘oh come on no one would do that’. For instance why doesn’t Nick call Amy ever? That would be most people’s first impulse. Why do they keep all the stuff in the woodshed waiting discovery and why is Nick so foolish when it comes to his mistress? It beggars belief that anyone would be so unkind to someone who could destroy them.
The casting here was genius though for the most part, you can’t fault the acting from anyone. Rosamund Pike really was Amy Dunne for me, she was the absolute image of what i had pictured her to be. I love Neil Patrick Harris too, and felt he got the level of creepy right for what the film was trying to do, but the very modern house was a shame as it stopped being quite so eery. In the book you have the feel of a mausoleum that he has been waiting to have Amy in – he even has a room decorated for her and a greenhouse and she is very very frightened of him. She instantly sees she has made a mistake going to him. The film lacks that sense.
The relationship between Go and Nick is the only ‘perfect’ part of the film. This portrayal is exactly how i saw their relationship. She’s the one trying to save him in spite of his making foolish decisions and he desperately wants her approval. When she breaks down at the end of the film it is really brilliant acting and it captures exactly the essence of the book – Go realises that he wants to be with Amy in a perverse way and that their relationship will never be the same. Nick can’t see that and it frightens her that he is making such a life choice through naivety.
I really enjoyed the film and as a separate entity to the book it is great but I urge people to read the book, it is just so much better and far more gripping than the film.