"you’ll never look at a wine bottle in quite the same way again"

How well do you know your partner? David Fincher’s Gone Girl will leave you questioning the very foundation of relationships once the final credits roll.  Faithfully based on Gillian Flynn’s hit 2012 novel, (with Flynn also taking sole charge of the screenplay), Fincher’s tenth film deconstructs the idea of love and marriage, leaving the audience second guessing and firmly one step behind at all times. In simple terms Gone Girl is a thriller about a missing person, Amy Elliot Dunne (Rosamund Pike) to be precise whose husband Nick (Ben Affleck) returns home late on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary to find Amy has vanished, under what seems to be sinister circumstances.

Fincher skilfully immerses us into the world of a couple that seemingly have it all and are ultimately living the coveted American dream. Repeatedly glimpsing into Amy’s methodically kept diary it’s clear that Nick and Amy had a fairy tale courtship, even with an icing sugar snow kiss near a New York bakery. However the idyllic bliss doesn’t last for long, with the strain of a recession resulting in two job losses and a terminally ill parent, slowly but surely the cracks start to appear.

Gone Girl expertly alternates between two time lines, the present seeing Nick under increasing pressure from the ongoing investigation into his wife’s mysterious disappearance and past events including the couple’s first encounter at a party, which is recounted by ‘amazing’ Amy herself through various diary entries. Both narrators are equally unreliable making the truth hazy and seemingly unobtainable, along with sharp pacing and a haunting score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (third time collaborators with Fincher) the overall tone is intensely claustrophobic.

Image and perception are a significant central theme, with Amy fundamentally being portrayed as America’s golden girl, soon a punishing witch hunt is ruthless formed against Nick by outraged media including TV pundits who are baying for Nick’s untruthful blood. As more questions than answers are revealed Fincher masterfully pulls the rug from under the audience’s feet halfway through, spinning the plot in a new reinvigorated direction.

Affleck and Pike unleash award winning performances as the complex, distrusting and flawed husband and wife. With an understated yet vital supporting cast including Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon and Tyler Perry (who brings some welcome albeit brief comic relief), help firmly cement Gone Girl’s status as a water-cooler thriller.

Verdict – With squirm inducing moments a-plenty Gone Girl is a constant wave of doubt, unpredictability and lies. Oh and you’ll never look at a wine bottle in quite the same way again.