David and I finally found the opportunity to watch the movie Gone Girl. I read the novel back in October and loved it. The story keeps you guessing the entire time and I at times was not sure what was really happening and really did not see where the story was truly going until the end. I was not sure if they were going to pull off that same sense of suspense in the movie. Also, since I had read the book I do not know if I would have the same reaction to the movie. Luckily, David had not read the book so I could use his reaction to help judge the emotional progress of the book. From what I can tell they definitely pulled off telling the same story, which was not an easy feat. The book goes back and forth between perspectives and that can sometimes not done well in a movie, but the transitions were smooth and done beautifully. There were still a lot of things that were taken out for time purposes obviously, but all the same twists and turns were still there. The movie did an amazing job with pulling off the book and really getting the emotion of the story. (Spoilers for Gone Girl after the jump.)
One of the great things about the book is the pacing of it. The way that they go back and forth between who is talking and constantly making you question who is right and who is wrong. Then halfway through the story they flip a switch and start to reveal everything. What is great is even though they do a reveal halfway through there are still a lot of questions, such as what is going to happen now. The movie pulls off this exact same feat. The movie goes through less back and forth then the book because the book just has pages to deal with, but the movie has a timeframe to think about. At the same time even though there are things taken out of each side it still keeps you guessing. In the beginning you might think you know what is happening, but pretty soon you really are not sure. Then you hit that halfway point and it is like a gut punch to find out what is really going on. Then you are spending the rest of the movie wondering where the story is going to go.
Now obviously with having a limited amount of time to actually tell the story there were elements of the story that we get in the book that we miss in the movie. Now I am not sure about comparing the actual timeline of the book to the timeline of the movie, but it seems like events happen faster in the movie. Some of it is there is a whole other clue that is in the book that they never have in the movie. This clue takes Nick Dunne to some country fair type thing to find the next clue. This of course leads into further plans that are presented in the book, but never presented in the movie. At the same time the movie does a good job of making us not even miss that part because we are so invested in everything that is happening. There are pieces missing in the second half too, but it still hits the major plot points without feeling like anything is actually missing from the story.
The ending of the movie is basically the same as the book, the big difference is the way the ending is presented. In the movie they are able to play up the interactions with the media and seeing the story pictured everywhere. So the movie ends with a kind of final interview to have the audience understand how the story is ending. In the book the ending is more about the relationship between two people and how they are supposed to cope with choices that have been made and things that have been done.
The last thing that I can really say is that Gone Girl did an amazing job of adapting the book into a movie. There are things that the book could obviously do that the movie could not, but the overall story is still present. The biggest thing is also that the emotional progress for the audience is very present in the movie, which is a tall order.