David Fincher swoops down to explore his next potential directing assignment. So I decided to check out the book.

Genre: Thriller
Premise: Told from two different points of view, a man’s wife goes missing and he becomes the prime suspect.
About: 41 year old Gillian Flynn is a former Entertainment Weekly TV critic. She’s written three novels, with “Gone Girl” being her most recent. The bestseller got a bump a few months back when David Fincher expressed interest in adapting the book into a film. It’s unclear if he was just circling it or is now officially developing the screenplay.
Writer: Gillian Flynn
Details: Way more than 120 pages long

0806_gone_425

Why the hell am I reviewing a book? Well, first of all, to prove that I can read books! There’s this rumor going around that I can only read text in courier 12 point font, and that said font can never eclipse 4 lines of continuous text at a time. There have been stretches in my life where this is true. But when someone like David Fincher comes along and says he likes something, my book-reading juices start flowing. And this juice is not made from concentrate.

I can’t remember a single project Fincher’s been attached to that has been bad. Most of the time the script for the project is at least a [xx] worth the read and usually an [x] impressive. What I love about Fincher is that he’s one of the few guys out there willing to take chances. While directors like Jon Favreau and Ridley Scott are pretty much playing it safe, Fincher always wants to push the envelope. Gone Girl is no different. This book is a freaking wild ride. It does stuff I’ve never seen in a novel before.

However, let me warn you, this book is one giant spoiler. There’s a shit load going on and it has one of the best twists I’ve ever seen in a novel or movie. If you have any interest in reading this book or seeing this movie, do not read this review, because I’m going to get into all the spoilers. You’ve been warned.

The first 40 or so pages of Gone Girl are pretty boring. In them, we meet Nick and Amy Dunne, former Manhattanites who have to relocate to Nick’s home town in Missouri when he loses his job. Nick has since used Amy’s money (that comes from her wealthy parents, authors who made a fortune writing books about her childhood) to open a bar that only barely breaks even, and is one of several factors that have driven these two lovebirds apart.

You see, Nick and Amy used to really love each other. Like “love has no boundaries” love. The kind of love Double Rainbow guy would have for a Triple Rainbow. We know this because interspersed between Nick’s present, is Amy’s past, told in firsthand through her journal entries. It’s a devastating dichotomy as we cut back and forth between the wonderful love story Amy offers up and the cold clinical realization of their relationship now, told through Nick’s POV.

Just as we’re getting to know these two, something unthinkable happens. Someone breaks into Nick’s house while he’s away and takes Amy. The crime scene is violent and bloody and while there’s certainly a chance Amy’s still alive, it doesn’t look good. What also isn’t looking good is Nick. You see, Nick fell out of love with his wife a long time ago. And even though she’s been taken, there’s something deep inside of him that doesn’t really care. And therein lies the problem. When Nick goes on national TV to ask for his wife back, there isn’t a shred of emotion in his voice. To any and everyone who watches Nick, they have no doubt that he killed her.

Nick looks for solace from his twin sister, Go. She’s the only one who believes him. But even that’s looking shaky as Nick can’t give the cops an alibi for the time his wife was taken. The book then keeps cutting back and forth between Nick’s worsening nightmare and Amy’s love-sick journal. However, as the story continues, and the journal’s timeline catches up to the present day, we see that Nick has been hiding some secrets. He’s got some demons. And those demons are so bad that as early as last week, Amy went to buy a gun to protect herself from him. It’s looking really bad for Nick. Even we’re wondering if he did it.

And then comes the twist of all twists.

It was a lie. Every word we heard in Amy’s diary was a lie, right down to the personality we thought we knew for the last 250 pages. Amy isn’t bubbly and sweet and good and caring. She’s evil. She’s the definition of hate and bitterness. The diary was a plant, something she’d been working on for a year to lead up to this moment to work as the smoking gun that would send her husband to the chair for her murder. Why would anybody do something like this? For that you’ll have to read the novel. But let’s just say that Amy is the single most vindictive person on the planet.

Once we realize we’ve been scammed, we realign ourselves with Nick, hoping against hope that he can find Amy to prove he didn’t kill her. This task is getting harder by the second as Amy leaks sordid details of Nick’s past anonymously to the press, which means that the cops are probably going to pounce and arrest him soon. Only time will tell how or if Nick will get out of this. If he doesn’t find out how his girl got gone, he’s going to be gone himself.

Okay, I just have to say it. The twist here fucking ROCKED. I mean I was blown away. For 250 pages, we’re given a person, a backstory, a personality, someone we like and trust. We love Amy. To see the “mid-point twist,” then, where we realize it was all a setup? That she made up this version of herself and was really the complete opposite? It’d be like if your best friend of 20 years showed up one day and revealed that he was a completely different person. The way that twisted the story, realigned our sympathy, reversed the polarity of who we were rooting for? It was nothing short of genius.

And really, that’s where a lot of the genius occurs here – the way Flynn frustrates us with who we’re supposed to root for. She makes us hate Nick and love Amy at the outset. Then she shows us Nick’s point of view, and we like Nick and hate Amy. Then we find out something about Nick, and we hate him again, falling back in love with Amy. This constant “switching of allegiances” was masterful, and something we just don’t see in movies, probably because we don’t have enough time. Being yanked back and forth between these two is a big reason this book was able to stay so interesting for so long.

Also, Flynn does an amazing job keeping you guessing who the killer may be. At different points we wonder if Nick himself did it. If an old friend of Amy’s did it. If someone from town did it. At one point we even wonder if Nick’s twin sister is secretly in love with him and killed Amy to get her out of the picture. Flynn is really good at making you think you have things figured out, only to pull the rug out from under you.

What makes Gone Girl so difficult to read though, is that it destroys all hope you have in humanity and relationships. Amy is a vindictive bitch who will go so far as to stage her own murder to take down her husband. And Nick just doesn’t care about Amy anymore. These were two people who were madly in love. So to watch them become these hateful human beings, to see the severity of their relationship’s collapse, kind of makes you want to slit your wrists. It’s really depressing!

But despite snagging an elusive [xx] genius rating through the first half of the story, Gone Girl completely falls apart in its final act. Embarrassingly so. Running out of money and options to survive, Amy comes back to Nick. Amidst all the news coverage and the circus surrounding her disappearance, she just starts living with him again. Amy points out that because they’ve gone through what they’ve gone through, they can’t possibly be with anyone else. They may be miserable, but they’re stuck with each other. And that’s how the book ends, with both of these miserable people deciding to stay together and hate each other til the day they die.

WHAT???

I was so upset with this ending that I went online and researched Flynn to figure out why she would do such a thing. What I found made everything clear. Flynn, it turns out, doesn’t outline. She just writes whatever comes to her. WELL JESUS! NOW IT MAKES SENSE! She wrote a bunch of crazy shit then had no idea how to pay it off. This is EXACTLY how the last act felt. Like someone who had no idea how to end their story.

Which begs the question: How the hell does Fincher plan to adapt this? Why would you adapt something if the greatest thing about it is un-adaptable? We’re fooled by a journal, by a character writing directly to us, who it turns out is lying to us. How does one pull that off in a movie? We have to see Amy. We must show her writing these entries. And since her writing is a façade, something she’s making up, one would presume we’d pick up on her deception as it’s happening.

I suppose you could tell the first half in Amy’s voice over, with her journal entries read out loud over the life she’s describing, but I’m just not sure that would be as convincing (or even make sense). If they do decide to make this, though, I’d look into making the genius twist the ending, as opposed to the mid-point. You don’t really have time to go through an entire relationship and then an entire aftermath of the twist anyway, in a film. This way you’d also eliminate that dreadful ending. That would be really cool if they figured it out, but it will be a challenge.

What an unforgettable reading experience “Gone Girl” was. It has amazing highs and devastating lows. It has “holy shit” twists and an indefensible climax. It’s such an imperfect piece of art, it’s hard to categorize. But I’m not surprised Fincher became interested. It’s so dark and different. If there’s anyone who can figure it out, it’s probably him.

[ ] what the hell did I just read?
[ ] wasn’t for me
[x] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: Know your ending before you start your story, if possible. You can come up with all the cool twists and turns in the world, but if you can’t bring everything together in the end, it won’t matter.

  • http://twitter.com/jaexhkim jae kim

    so I have point A (beginning) and point B (ending). I even have an outline.
    but somewhere during the writing process, I start to wander in my story.
    so much so that I don’t really know how to get to point B anymore. but at
    the same time, it’s the ending I want because there are a lot of set ups throughout
    the story for it. does anyone else run into this problem?

    • martin_basrawy

      Yes, I run into this problem often. At the outset, though, I think you should just write for writing’s sake and just finish the script, no matter how meandering it might be inbetween points A and B. Just get your ideas onto the page, and afterwards start editing as per narrative structure points that Carson has written about often.
      I know that I sometimes get caught up in getting things right the first time, so I sit there editing and re-editing a scene before I could allow myself to move on. I think that’s a trap. Just write the whole dame thing and then come back to it afterwards and edit judiciously.

      • http://twitter.com/jaexhkim jae kim

        I read all the time not to edit as I write. but I find myself editing the outline and therefore my story as I write all the time.

        as for gone girl, I was expecting more of a thriller at the ending (from carson’s review, I did not read the book). the twist coming at the end I think would be the best way to go. but I’d like to hear what everyone’s idea of an ending would be after that.

        for me, after the twist reveal towards the end, the husband, while being hunted by the police, tracks down the wife and finds her with another man. the other man tries to kill the husband but the wife saves him. the police barge in, arrests the man. the husband and wife realize they still have feeling for each other and decide to stick it out, just like the ending in the book.

    • http://twitter.com/JohnBostonfilm John Boston

      If you think about how you want your audience to feel at the end it helps to keep the story in order. Think in terms of human emotion, not thrilled, surprised, excited etc. I would consider those fleeting “emotions.” This strategy has always helped me In the past.

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        Yes, this strategy worked perfectly for me while writing my latest script. I did have an outline, though, it was even the first time I had such a precise one (I described every scene on a single sheet of paper, be it two sentences or several paragraphs but focusing on what I wanted the reader to feel which leaves open doors for changing the action while still sticking to the basics of the whole story).

        I don’t understand how or why someone would just write with no idea of where they’re going. To me, that’s bound for disaster. As an example, I was approached by a director friend who needed help because he was stuck at the midpoint of his script. Well, no surprise there since he’d just started writing the script so I advised him to start over with a synopsis and then a short treatment (we didn’t have much time). He knew what he wanted so that quickly fell into place and then we wrote the script (the movie was a DTV).

        Each their own method, of course, and there’s nothing wrong with improvising along the way but I believe in having a few points firmly in place : beginning, midpoint, end.

    • Jim

      Point B shouldn’t be your endpoint – it’s really your starting point. Your crisis/climax determines your ending, the outcome of the buildup of everything that comes prior. If you know if the goal is reached and whether the main character is better or worse for the experience, then you SHOULD have a semblance of theme that you’re working from.

      That theme is then the backbone of the story, the idea you’re exploring through the events – and it’s not just a matter of Point A, beginning, and Point B, ending, as I know you’re already aware. But the idea is you have to build toward your argument by showing perspectives/counterperspectives to your argument. For every Andy DuFresne professing hope, there’s a Red trapped in cynicism and both perspectives need to be explored for your argument on how YOU see the world to be portrayed convincingly to your audience. This is “your voice”. It’s not necessarily your style, but rather what you have to say about something and how you go about saying it.

      The plot points you create are really events to satisfy and dramatize your theme and whatever order you put them in has an impact on how your story is received. That’s one thing writers, at least amateurs, don’t appreciate as much as they should: your audience’s perspective. With great writing, you’re in command every step of the way of what they think and how they feel. Knowing HOW you want them to feel when they leave the theater is really the most important thing to understand when creating your ending because the rest of the story is ultimately going to be judged by it.

      For instance, Andy trudging through seven football fields of shit, getting raped, beaten, solitary confinement, etc. is now a lot less grim considering the story’s outcome of success. Remember, the more obstacles you put your characters through, or the more difficult they are, the more rewarding the outcome has the potential to be. But all those events are layed out and dramatized through character and setting to represent the story’s theme as evident in the “emotional” climax, where Red is at a point where he makes a leap of faith: hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

      We wouldn’t believe that had we not experienced all the various tribulations Andy went through to get to that point, but we also wouldn’t appreciate it had we not had Red’s counter argument as the cynical lifer of a main character, to whom we view the story events from.

      So, know thy ending first and how you want your audience to feel as a result because ultimately, you’re manipulating them, and they’re willingly allowing themselves to be… if you get it right.

    • Vitamin Bee-otch

      For me personally, I don’t start writing until I know exactly how I want my reader/audience to feel at the first frame of the movie, and exactly how they will feel at the end, and how much different those feelings will be because of the journey they just took. After that, I basically “write inward” from both sides. I don’t literally write page 1, then page 110, then page 2, then page 109. That would be absurd. I’m saying I have enough solid notes about the actual events/character arcs that I’m going to build to in the second half of the 2nd act and 3rd act. So I never really get off track because I know what I’m building toward.

      Whether or not this works, I’m not sure, but I will say this. Carson always says that the second half of the 2nd act is the hardest to write, because things have to escalate and change, but I personally find that the FIRST half of the 2nd act is much harder to write. That’s usually where my scripts wander, trying to take the setup from the 1st act and getting it to the “build up” that I already have in mind after the midpoint. So the “hardest part” of the script generally turns out well for me, so most of my rewriting takes place with the setup of the 1st act and the jump into the 2nd act.

      Basically before I even start on page 1, all my big character moments and plot twists and thematic resonance is already realized for the second half of the story, to the point where there really is no other way to end it, minor adjustments aside.

      I personally think that if your script wanders a considerable amount during the same draft, then your story probably needs some work. If you end up doing a page 1 rewrite on page 45, then you haven’t realized what you are writing yet.

      For my next script, I might even write from page 60 onward first, then do pages 1 to 60. Might work, might not. Good luck!

  • martin_basrawy

    I’m glad Carson decided to venture out of the norm and do a book review, because it feeds into something I’ve been meaning to bring up here… a suggestion for an article. I’ve only been visiting this site since about February, so I haven’t read ALL articles ever written here. But how about writing an article that talks about adapting a book? It may have to be a public domain type thing (Sherlock Holmes, Shakespeare, etc.) because that’s all that amateur writers could afford to write about and hope to sell. But I think LotR could be used as a template for this. Love or hate those movies, but Jackson distilled into a coherent narrative three books which were thought to be unfilmable. Hell, the article can even include a no-no section about how some movies become too slavish to their book of origin. This article would be good because you can talk about giving your characters an arc (Aragorn and Faramir are given flaws that they didn’t have in the books, so they could now have a journey, etc.), how it makes more dramatic sense to have Denethor be evil rather than how he is in the book, and so forth.

  • Scott Strybos

    I read this book a while back, after I read Fincher was adapting, and I also really liked it. However, I did see the twist coming because I read a novel with the exact same twist right before it! A wife is kidnapped, feared dead, but it turns out she faked it. (I don’t remember the name, but it has a picture of an amusement park on the cover, because that is where she disappears from).
    Still, I really liked this novel. And I have been disappointed by so many novels recently. And, unlike Carson, I enjoyed the end. It was dark and depressing and I think perfect for Fincher.

  • Scott Strybos

    Speaking of novels, can anyone recommend any other good ones. Something along the line of a thriller, like Gone Girl. I’ve had a bad string of novels…
    I tried reading the first Jack Reacher novel. And I was bored. I stopped about half way through. I skipped to the end and realised that I didn’t miss much. (SOILER) I was positive one of the trio was going to be dirty or dead, but no.
    The biggest dissapointment was King’s latest novel. I wanted to like it SO BAD. Stephen King and time travel. Amazing! But, alas, I dropped out half way too. I just couldn’t finish it.

    • Nate

      If you like espionage type novels you might like Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse and Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp series (read American Assassin and Kill Shot first in that order as they are prequels)

      • Scott Strybos

        I just finished Vince Flyn’s, Transfer of Power. I was inspired to read it after I found it had a similar plot to the film White House Down, which I was interested in seeing until the latest trailer. The book had its flaws, but I liked it. I will try the other books a try. Thanks.

  • fragglewriter

    Will you review “The Great Gatsby.” Also, will you compare the novel and the original film to the current?

  • http://twitter.com/A_Fataki Abdul Fataki

    I’m not sure whether Carson read the right book or missed this (wouldn’t be the first time :)) but Wiki says:

    However, Amy is running low on money when she is robbed by fellow guests of a motel. Desperate, she seeks help from an old friend. He agrees to hide her, but Amy soon feels trapped in his house. She murders him and returns to her husband, saying she had been kidnapped. Nick knows that she is a killer, but he stays in his marriage because she says she is pregnant with his child.

    • carsonreeves1

      Yeah, this all happens but it would’ve taken me a good 800 more words to explain so in the context of the breakdown. There is TONS of plot going on in this book. It’s almost impossible to summarize all of it. :)

      • Scott Strybos

        That is what I really liked about this book. There was so much going on. So many other books are so stingy on plot. The entire novels are just waiting for three of four plot twists/turns. This book was meaty.

      • http://twitter.com/A_Fataki Abdul Fataki

        Oh ok, thanks :)

        Give us an update on the comedy script you’ve read (maybe Friday review?)

        • carsonreeves1

          Yeah, great script. I’m going to have some industry folks read it, see what comes of it, and hopefully we’ll have another success story. :)

  • DrMatt

    They could go The Prestige route and have one person discovering the story from someone’s point of view, then within that flashback that someone is discovering the story from the original person’s point of view. I thought that movie did an amazing job at presenting two points of view, both from rather unreliable narrators.

    Interesting that it also features the shift in “who you root” for, but more around the end of the second act instead of the midpoint.

  • New_E

    David Fincher can do no wrong in my book – visual director par excellence. Love all his films, but particularly fond of ZODIAC. A town living on the edge for over a decade. Brilliant stuff. A masterpiece.

    Can we talk twists though?

    Here, at some point, we apparently find out that what we’ve taken as truth before, is in fact a lie, and Carson, you seem to like it. Yet, in one of your other reviews for a Nicholl winner (can’t remember the name of the script), you felt that the reveal at the end that the protagonist was actually Ted Bundy was a cheat and it made you think less of the script, although, as you conceded, it was very-well written and a good read up to that point.

    Why do some twists work and others don’t? When is a twist a mere cheat? Is there an article I missed?

    E

    • Scott Strybos

      I know that in Gone Girl, it doesn’t just end on the twist. It happens halfway through act two, or at the latest, the end of act two (I don’t really remember), so the story has to continue to work with this twist. The twist adds tension and conflict to the rest of the story, because we find out before the husband does. It seems like the twist in the script you mentioned was at the end, where he says, “I’m Ted Bundy. Goodbye” Role credits. So it was a twist for twists sake (?).

    • JakeMLB

      SPOILERS OF SOME FILMS BELOW

      A lot of it will come down to execution so there are probably no hard and fast rules. But the twist here works because it’s actually integral to the story and not just a gimmick. Beyond that, it works because we’re experiencing it through the POV of a character in the story. And finally, it works because it’s original and unexpected.

      From Carson’s review, it seems the diary was a plant — within the story. In this way, we the audience are experiencing the twist as a detective might, or as any other outsider reading Amy’s diary for the first time would.

      That’s important because we’re not actually being “cheated” only misled. There’s a difference. The Sixth Sense is another example. We’re not cheated because we’re experiencing each scene as Bruce Willis experienced it since he himself didn’t know he was dead. Dream House with Daniel Craig is another example (although the film bombed in epic fashion since the trailers gave away the twist). In The Usual Suspects, we’re the detective.

      So with that said, I’d say there are probably three ‘rules’ to making a good twist (I put rules in quotations since they are not set in stone):

      1) The twist must be integral and organic to the story (can the story survive without the twist?)
      2) The audience must experience the twist as a character in the story would experience it (usually the protagonist)
      3) The twist should be original and generally difficult to foresee (i.e., it should run counter to expectation)

      All of these rules are important but the second is probably the most important. Whenever you write a script you’re writing the story from a certain POV. If the POV is mostly framed around the protagonist (e.g., the protagonist is in nearly every scene of the film), then the twist absolutely must be a surprise to the protagonist since we the audience are experiencing the film through their POV.

      • New_E

        Great breakdown!!!

        E

      • blue439

        Yeah, like The Sixth Sense or Shutter Island. Won’t work with multiple POVs though, or neutral POVs (not one characters’ POV) — then it comes off as a lame copout like a lot of horror movies, just like the “it was all a dream” ending.

  • kent

    Sounds like it might be hard to make a compelling movie because you can’t show the nice Amy — all you can do is have her vo read the diary or something. Otherwise you get into problems like in Side Effects where we see Rooney doing things she wouldn’t have done, or in Hitch’s Stagefright where we see a flashback of her alibi as a woman narrates it, only to learn she was lying which undermined the whole movie. Seems like it works ether in book form…

  • ripleyy

    New Contest: Adapt “Gone Girl”.

    I have a horrible habit of wanting to read, going out to buying the book spontaneously and then never reading it. Rarely I’ll get a book where I can’t put down, so it’s the opposite.

    Anyway, I do a beat-per-beat outline where I detail everything so for me writing is more in control. I could never free-roam. That’d tear me apart. Recently I’ve been trying to get into novel-writing but I find it far too difficult because I’ve hard-wired myself to write everything like a screenplay.

    • Poe_Serling

      The character Craddock McDermott from Heart-Shaped Box is one creepy ghost. I still remember the scene from the book where Judas first encounters the spirit in the hallway.

      • ripleyy

        I remember how vivid the writing was. There’s a simple part where Judas makes tea and the way it was described was just perfect. Also, Georgia was possibly the cutest person ever.

        But yeah. Craddock set the bar pretty high. Loved it. Now I want to read the book again :(

  • K.B. Houston

    One of the biggest problems I see with the amateur scripts published on this site is that many of them don’t understand how to write. It’s great if you know all the basics and nuances of screenwriting, but if you have no sense for how to tell a story then you’re never going to appeal to your readers. Books offer up all sorts of great life lessons, but for screenwriters their best attribute is teaching you how to tell a story and how to write well.

    • grendl

      I see such little passion in the scripts posted here. Not that the writer’s haven’t worked hard, but they’ve worked hard to please others, not because they have something they truly want to say or write about.

      I see people trying desperately to come up with premises that sound like a good hook, a logline that will catch some producers attention, but then you read them and they’re these nothing stories, with no heart, no brains, and no courage.

      It takes a lot of work to write a coherent story. Simplicity is very very hard, but that’s what people should be striving for, stories that are clear, character arcs that are well defined, themes which are properly developed, not just happenstance.

      Sometimes it seems the writers here post work they hope others will see genius in when they never put the work in to justify such a claim. You have to build every part of your story, from the molecular level up. Quality isn’t happenstance.

      And how many of these scripts have an internal journey incorporated into them. A universal fear which has manifested as a character flaw which must be reconciled before the protagonist can overcome his external foe.

      There’s a certain karma to fiction. Protagonists quite often deserve the terrible things that happen to them, on some level, and it turns out to be a blessing in disguise, The antagonists work actually makes them better people, quite often in movies, giving them an opportunity to play the role of hero, just for one day.

      These are just my opinions, so the troll patrol try to refrain.

  • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

    I didn’t read the review due to the spoiler alert, but, Carson you can’t think of a single Fincher project that was bad? Guess you haven’t seen Alien 3? Now that was nowhere near entirely Fincher’s fault – in fact Fincher has since expressed his discontent with the studio and his dislike of the film itself.

    And don’t get me started on The Curious Case of Benjamin Boring.

  • Courtesy

    Dang, Carson. I was expecting a truly unique and original twist from your review, but that twist I’ve seen a couple times. Most recently as a mini-metaphor-story in the film The Oxford Murders starring Elijah Wood. It’s a really good misdirection device, but not entirely fresh. I guess that just goes to show how hard it is to come up with something that is completely 100% original these days. That said, I’d be very interested in seeing Fincher’s take on this book.

  • mcruz3

    I LOVED the ending. It was horribly claustrophobic and frustrating but that’s what I loved about it. Amy gets away with everything and it’s awful but it’s the only justifiable and appropriate ending for such a couple.

    And the last thing he says to her? “I feel bad for you because you have to wake up every day and be you.”

    It was the only thing he could say that would get to her on any level. I love, love, love the ending and will defend it to the death!

    • Citizen M

      I haven’t read the book, but I was going to say that Amy has been disloyal and scheming so she should come to a sticky end.

      But if they are equally bad, which you imply, that brings another problem — unsympathetic protagonists. If the audience doesn’t like either of them you’re not going to have a commercially successful movie.

      Wikipedia mentions “edge-of-the-seat suspense” as well as unreliable narration and plot twists. So the movie has to deliver twists, misdirection, and suspense.

      My solution would be to introduce another character, an insurance investigator checking out whether they can pay out on Amy’s death. We experience the misdirection and suspense from his POV.

      When Amy returns the claim is denied and Nick and Amy are ruined. (Maybe they were in cahoots to get the money — another twist.) Meanwhile Nick’s twin sister has been saving her money and takes over the bar and takes them on as employees despite all they have done, thus demonstrating there are some nice people in this world.

  • TGivens

    David Fincher just keeps teasing us! First he promises The Girl Who Played with Fire, than there’s this Untitled Chief Project, now Gone Girl…Just make the damn movie already! I can’t wait!

  • Tor Dollhouse

    BLACK HOLE (1995):
    Follows a group of mostly middle class teenagers who, over the summer, contract a mysterious sexually transmitted disease known as “the Bug” or “the teen plague”, which causes them to develop bizarre unique physical mutations, turning them into social outcasts.

    2008: David Fincher is attached to direct although it currently is in development hell.

    2013: http://www.rupertsanders.com/blackhole.html?ref=0
    Directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman).

  • Deaf Ears

    I liked the book overall, but here are the three main problems with it IMO…

    First of all, I don’t believe that somebody as evil and calculating as Amy would put herself in a situation where she would be sure to run out of money, nor do I buy that she would plan to simply kill herself when the money ran out.

    Second, the way Amy falls back in love with Nick, to the extent that she’s capable of doing that, when she sees him on TV while on the lam was really unconvincing.

    Third, everything having to do with her ex-boyfriend and his murder didn’t work – too many coincidences and people behaving unbelievably for the convenience of the story – it’s been a while since I read the book, so I can’t cite many specifics, but I do remember that this whole section rang utterly false – and one specific thing I do remember is that the mother, who was written as being something of a steamroller, doesn’t follow up and try to get somebody to investigate the murder of her son further.

    I like the ending fine – I have more of a taste for bleak endings than Carson does – but I don’t buy how the story got there.

    Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see if and how the screenplay corrects these problems – last I read, Flynn was writing the script herself.

  • Film_Shark

    Carson, nice to know you read books. If you like YA novels, I recommend ‘Divergent’ by Veronica Roth. It’s just as good if not better than ‘Hunger Games.’ Shailene Woodley (Descendants) and Kate Winslet are attached to the film adaptation. Woodley’s career is on fire. She will be in a teen indie drama titled, ‘The Spectacular Now’ that was all the buzz at Sundance. She has acting chops.

  • shewrites

    From the review, it’s my kind of thriller. I hope it gets made.

  • Get Your Ass To Mars

    “I can’t remember a single project Fincher’s been attached to that has been bad.”

    So Carson, does this mean you’ve changed your mind about Alien 3?

    Personally, I don’t think Alien 3 is as bad as people make it out to be. If anything, the biggest problems were with the script, not Fincher’s direction and stylistic flourishes.

  • Jonathan Soens

    Carson said: “We’re fooled by a journal, by a character writing directly to us, who it turns out is lying to us. How does one pull that off in a movie? We have to see Amy. We must show her writing these entries.”

    I actually disagree here. I think the journal stuff is entirely adaptable. In fact, I think it becomes even easier to sucker people in with the journal stuff, because all you have to do is turn it into something that’s spoken out loud to the viewers. Like narration, basically.

    And Carson has made the point in the past about how voice-over has a really big strength in that it’s a character speaking directly to the audience, which makes it ripe for the possibility of forging a stronger relationship between the audience and that character.

    I think what you do is you cast some “likable” actress in that role, someone who is usually the protagonist in their films, so they have a voice the audience automatically feels like they can trust. Like a Sandra Bullock type. The audience will instinctively trust her from past roles, plus they are forging a connection with her because she’s speaking directly to the audience as she she writes/reads her journal.

    Of course, in this day of twists being spoiled for most people before they ever see the movie, I don’t know if I’d want to build an entire movie around a twist. It can still work for TV shows if your show/actors/network are good about keeping those surprises under wraps, but I’m not sure it can carry a movie anymore.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carson-Daves/100003247228938 Carson D

    This is one of those stories where everyone should die in the end.

  • ff

    In a weird way this reminds me of ‘MUD’ which is out now but sounds much better than this book. Worth checking out.