Monday, December 30, 2013

First look at Ben Affleck as Nick in Gone Girl: An innocent man or guilty as sin?


In the first image from David Fincher's screen adaptation of Gone Girl, we finally see Ben Affleck as Nick. Seeing that he's wearing a Find Amy button on his lapel, the scene probably takes place a couple of days after Amy's gone missing. It could be the police station conference room although the space looks a little large; it could be the ballroom at the Days Inn, or it could be a composite;both are places where Nick addresses the cameras and the volunteers, and both are places where Nick's revelations have us regarding him suspiciously. There's just something about the guy.

In Nick's own words from the Gillian Flynn novel -
At the police station...
"When I saw the broadcast later, I didn't recognize my voice. I barely recognized my face. The booze floating, sludgelike, just beneath the surface of my skin made me look like a fleshy wastrel, just sensuous enough to be disreputable. I had worried about my voice wavering, so I overcorrected and the words came out clipped, like I was reading a stock report. "We just want Amy to get home safe ..." Utterly unconvincing, disconnected. I might as well have been reading numbers at random."                   Gone Girl, p 82 

The Days Inn ... 
"The Days Inn had donated an underused ballroom to serve as the Find Amy Dunne headquarters. It was unseemly - a place of brown stains and canned smells - but just after dawn, Marybeth set about pygmalioning it, vacuuming and sani-wiping, arranging bulletin boards and phone banks, hanging a large head shot of Amy on one wall. The poster - with Amy's cool, confident gaze, those eyes that followed you - looked like something from a presidential campaign. In fact, by the time Marybeth was done, the whole room buzzed with efficiency -- the urgent hopefulness of a seriously underdog politician with a lot of true believers refusing to give up."                                      
Gone Girl, p 110  
What do you think, does Nick look the right kind of worried? Does he look appropriately concerned - therefore innocent - or glib and guilty as hell? If anything I'd give it to the 'concerned' column. Rosamund Pike is the missing Amy on the poster in a photo flashback to better times -  and that's the efficient Marybeth Elliot looking on with her husband Rand as Nick addresses what I assume is a crowd of volunteers and reporters. Portrayed in the film by David Clennon and Lisa Banes, the oh-so-happily married shrinks wrote a best selling series of Amazing Amy books, based on their own daughter and what Amazing Amy would do to solve one sticky adolescent problem or another. Hmmm, how's the Amazing Amy going to get out of this one?

The bigger question is what do you think of Affleck as Nick? Is he growing on you yet? I started talking about my own, um, discomfort with Ben as Nick back in this July 2013 post "Will Ben Affleck wear his cockiness like an ironic t-shirt" where I joined in the chorus of bashing Ben for not being quite boyish enough.

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