The morning of Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth anniversary starts off normally enough. Nick heads to work at the bar he owns in a small Missouri town, leaving his wife, Amy, at home to do whatever it is housewives do. But this day is unlike any other. Nick comes home to find Amy’s missing. The house is in disarray, as if there were a struggle, and no one seems to know where Amy is.
Suddenly, Nick and Amy’s anniversary turns into a police-assisted hunt for Amy. The story about the beautiful missing housewife quickly goes national, and as time passes, the media and people across the country peg Nick as a killer. He smiles when he should appear sad. He’s kind to others, instead of pissed off or upset. Not to mention, his alibi is shoddy, and police determine that the crime scene looks staged.
While all this is going on, we get a glimpse into Amy’s version of the story through flashback scenes dictated by Amy’s diary entries. We see both the happy times Nick and Amy had together (their first kiss! Nick’s proposal!) and the bad times (Nick hit Amy! She wants to buy a gun!). So what happened to Amy? And did Nick have something to do with it?
What I’ve detailed for you is a summary of both the novel and the movie. I say that because the movie stays so true to the book, thanks to the fact that Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn also wrote the film’s screenplay. Not only does the movie follow the book to a T, the casting is also incredibly on point. Ben Affleck is a natural at Nick Dunne’s aloof, smug charm. A relatively unknown Rosamund Pike plays Amy in an exceptionally sharp, twisted, scary way. Neil Patrick Harris as one of Amy’s former lover’s and Tyler Perry as Nick’s lawyer round out the perfectly-casted bunch.
There are a few minor changes, but it’s hard to describe them and not reveal any spoilers about the story. I do, however, think it’s safe to say that one thing the movie does differently is make the viewer hate Amy more than Nick at the end. The movie makes you sympathize with Nick and feel bad for the poor bastard. But when I finished the novel, I hated both Nick and Amy equally by the end. Aside from that, the casting, the direction, the music and sound, and the overall opportunity to see this story rather than picture it your head might make it even more twisted and creepy than the book. And I mean that in a good way.