Is Gone Girl ‘the film’ better than Gone Girl ‘the book’?

by |October 2, 2014

gone-girlLast night a few lucky Booktopians got an early look at the film adaptation Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, directed by David Fincher and starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

The experience proved, without a doubt, that great films made from great books can peacefully co-exist.

More often than not a great book is butchered by Hollywood, with dense characters painted insipidly on the screen, compelling themes in the book ignored entirely by screenwriters.

David Fincher’s Gone Girl is a remarkable film on its own. Intense, suspenseful and dripping in the blackest of humour. But after reading the book the entire story is richer and even more compelling.

How, you ask?


Gillian Flynn

1. Hire the book’s author to write the screenplay

It helps that Gillian Flynn has strong knowledge of the pitfalls of screen adaptations as a former television critic for Entertainment Weekly. But Gone Girl, despite its intense territory, is a subversively funny novel about marriage, dreams, class, family and much more. The movie picks apart these seemingly minor themes exceptionally well.

An author speaks to thousands of readers and knows which moments, however minor, have struck a chord with fans. In the economical world of film adaptations every second counts, and as a screenwriter Flynn explores every inch she was able to in the novel by knowing these moments.

2. Casting

Rosamund Pike is exceptional as Amy Dunne, doing more than I ever thought an actor could with the character. And after seeing the film I will also picture Ben Affleck when I ever think about about Nick Dunne. He’s equal parts shady husband and deer in headlights.

Every reader pictures a character differently in their head as they read a book, so casting is crucial to keep fans happy. Nail that, which Gone Girl does in spades, and you’re halfway there.

shadow-people043. Don’t rely on the book’s plot twist to the carry the film

Think of The Da Vinci Code. In the book, who is the killer? You have your suspicions, but it’s all in your head. You have nothing but the author’s words on the page to guide you. On the screen you can see those clandestine meetings, not just imagine them. The shapes of shadows, the lingering looks, it’s all in front of you. A twist is much harder to pull off in a film than a book because of this.

That’s what makes Gone Girl so great, the twist takes a backseat to the themes Flynn wants to explore. If Gone Girl was made as a twist film, it would struggle. The book has sold millions and millions of copies for a reason, it’s much more than a one-trick pony. Thankfully it appears the filmmakers knew that from day one.

Because of these things, the Gone Girl film adaptation is a readers dream. It’s an accompanying piece, not a entire retelling of the story. Both the book and the film add depth to eachother, exploring similar themes in different ways.

So do yourself a favour. If you’ve already read Gone Girl, go and see the film. You won’t be disappointed.

And if you haven’t read it, grab a copy today, and get a movie ticket while you’re at it. Take advantage of the rare opportunity to read a book and see a movie that can co-exist peacefully.

Grab a copy of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl here

gone-girlGone Girl

by Gillian Flynn


Who are you? What have we done to each other?

These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren’t made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone.

So what really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?

Grab a copy of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl here

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About the Contributor

Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

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