I came to this movie never having heard of the novel. I came to learn that this story came with alternating narratives as told by a husband and by a wife coming from different points of view within a marriage. The film carries on with that narrative style. This review may contain spoilers.
Nick Dunne (played by Ben Affleck) marries “Amazing Amy” Elliot Dunne, a well known author. It appears the marriage is going on well enough on the occasion of their 5th anniversary, until Nick comes home to find his wife missing and signs of a struggle. Suspicion falls on Nick as those around him do not feel he is grieving enough and the clues start to build. Suffice it to say, the plot twists here are numerous and all is revealed halfway through as you watch Amy continue spin a web of deceit with all the cunning and organized planning worthy of The Joker. It’s almost too much to believe, but certainly fun to watch Rosamund Pike in this amazing performance. Frustrated, Nick keeps pointing out logic errors regarding the evidence to the police but no one seems to act on it and also confesses to wrong doing of his own. Some may feel the ending is a disappointing payoff given the theatrics that preceded it, however.
Speaking of Rosamund Pike, the movie opens with this close up shop of her head looking up and you form an impression of her as being a vulnerable, intimate person. The same shot is shown near the end of the film and your impression of her becomes radically different with that same gaze now appearing so very sinister. That was enjoyable to see.
Much has been made about the first appearance of Ben Affleck’s penis in the movie. To be certain, his ass and penis do make an appearance in the movie (as does the blood covered junk of Neil Patrick Harris) but it is as fleeting as it is amazing. To see it, you must wait near the end of the movie where Amy chooses to confess everything to Nick in the shower, where he has to be naked so she is sure he is not wearing a wire. He enters the shower naked to greet his wife and you see the camera pan left past his butt and then you see it. It was quite a bit larger in length and girth than what I was expecting, I have to admit.
Oscar nominations are assured to Rosamund Pike for her performance here, and perhaps to the great Kim Dickens as a wise police investigator; and to David Fincher for film director.