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‘Gone Girl’ a twisted tale of marriage gone awry

PHOTO PROVIDED Ben Affleck stars as Nick Dunne in “Gone Girl.”

Ben Affleck is a mystery. The actor rose to super stardom after his Oscar-winning work alongside good friend Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting.” Since then, he has made a plethora of films — some excellent and some, well, not so good.

“Gone Girl” falls somewhere in the middle. Based on the best-selling novel, the plot centers around Nick Dunne (Affleck) and his wife, Amy (the fantastic Rosamund Pike). On their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick returns home to find Amy missing. Her disappearance receives a lot of press coverage, as Amy was the inspiration for her parents’ popular “Amazing Amy” children’s books. Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) finds poorly concealed evidence of a struggle in the house. Suspicion quickly surrounds Nick. His apathetic attitude is interpreted by the media as characteristic of a sociopath and even creates some doubt in his twin sister, Margo (Carrie Coon).

Early in the film, it appears that Nick and Amy had the picture-perfect marriage. However, through a series of flashbacks, we quickly learn that there were cracks — lots and lots of cracks — in the foundation of the marriage. During a recession, the two lost their jobs and moved to Missouri. Nick became distant and began cheating on Amy with Andie, one of his students at the community college where he teaches. Amy resented Nick for making her move to the middle of nowhere from the hustle and bustle of a somewhat luxurious lifestyle in New York City.

Once “Gone Girl” picks up steam, it doesn’t stop. Forensic evidence suggests a murder. Nick is clueless. It’s hard to believe that he had anything to do with his wife’s disappearance. But all the evidence points directly to him. Medical reports indicate that Amy is pregnant, which Nick denies knowing. There are so many twists and turns that “Gone Girl” nearly goes off the rails a few times. As crazy as things get, it never really jumps the proverbial shark, so we stick around. The plot is very convoluted, so check your brain at the door for 120 minutes.

Amy, still very much alive, winds up at the home of an ex-boyfriend Desi (“How I Met Your Mother” star Neil Patrick Harris). Amy does some dark and very twisted things at Desi’s home that I can’t reveal in a family newspaper, so you will have to watch to find out for yourself.

If there is one flaw in “Gone Girl” it’s that there really isn’t a likable character. Nick is a liar and a cheat, who certainly needs to be taken down a notch or two. Amy is an absolute psychopath, so we feel little to no sympathy for her. It should be noted that Pike plays Amy convincingly well, earning an Oscar nomination for her efforts.

Affleck is solid, but not outstanding. He’s a very good actor (see: “Argo”), but there are times during “Gone Girl” that he appears to be mailing it in. Don’t get me wrong — it’s a solid performance, just not his very best.

If you are in the mood for a pyschological thriller, “Gone Girl” doesn’t disappoint. Much like Affleck’s performance, it’s good — but not great.

“Gone Girl” is rated R for adult themes, sexual situations and violence. It is available on Hulu, YouTube, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Prime.

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Chris Morelli is a staff writer for The Express.

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