As much as I love David Fincher, in some ways, Gone Girl seems to be a parody of everything that has made him a great director.
Coming home on their wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) finds the house in shambles and his wife Amy Elliott-Dunne (Rosamund Pike) missing. Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) is assigned to the case and begins to suspect Nick of Amy's disappearance and possible murder.
Through a series of flashbacks, we see how Nick and Amy's relationship went from a blossoming romance to a hate-filled marriage. Amy was the author of a series of popular children's books based off a character named "Amazing Amy". Due to the popularity of the character and book series, the missing person's case brings a lot of media coverage down onto Nick. With the media and police bearing down on Nick, every move he makes becomes scrutinized. Nick eventually teams up with lawyer Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry) in an attempt to clear his name and help try to find out what happened to his wife.
The plot about Gone Girl has to remain simple and to the point as there is a lot more going on under the surface and might ruin the film to those who have yet to see it. The layers of complexity are intriguing, but about halfway through the film, the story's focus shifts away from Nick and the film began to lose my interest. This detour is not bad, and I completely understand why, but it is much less interesting than the main focus of the story.
Once this narrative shift begins, the film itself feels more choppy and disjointed. Parts of the second half are very entertaining while others left me checking my watch. I have not read the book, so I went in to this film with a clean slate. I'm not sure if that was better or worse, but the film itself is solid, if unspectacular. The disappointment with the film, I feel, is that David Fincher is much better than the material he is using. Since "The Social Network", it feels almost as if he is on auto pilot and using all the tropes that worked for him in the past and is not pushing himself as he had prior with this film and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".
Gone Girl is a solid film, but in the David Fincher catalog, it is sorely lacking.