Directed by: David Fincher
Screenplay by: Gillian Flynn
Tagline: “Was Nick Dunne lying?”
Gone Girl is a psychological thriller directed by David Fincher and written by Gillian Flynn, based on her 2012 novel of the same title. It stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, and Tyler Perry. Set in Missouri, it begins as a mystery that follows the events surrounding Nick Dunne (Affleck), who becomes the primary suspect in the sudden disappearance of his wife, Amy (Pike).
The day of their fifth wedding anniversary, writing teacher Nick Dunne returns home to find that his wife Amy is missing. Her disappearance receives heavy press coverage, as Amy was the inspiration for her parents' popular Amazing Amy children's books. Detective Rhonda Boney does a walkthrough of their house and finds poorly concealed evidence of a struggle. The police conduct a forensic analysis and find the remnants of cleaned blood stains, leading them to conclude that Amy was murdered. Suspicions quickly focus on Nick. His apathetic behavior is seen by many as an indication that he is sociopathic.
Flashbacks reveal the gradual disintegration of Nick and Amy's marriage; both lost their jobs in the recession and moved from New York City to Nick's hometown of North Carthage, Missouri. Nick grew lazy and distant, and began cheating on Amy with one of his students. Boney finds evidence of financial troubles and domestic disputes, and a witness recalls that Amy wanted to buy a gun. She also finds a medical report indicating that Amy was pregnant (something Nick denies any knowledge of), and entries from Amy's diary chronicle her growing isolation, and a creeping fear that Nick may kill her.
We discover that Amy is actually alive and well, having changed her appearance and gone into hiding in a distant campground in the Ozarks. We learn that when Amy discovered that Nick was cheating on her, she resolved to punish him by framing him for her murder. Amy plans the framing in great detail: she befriends a pregnant neighbor to steal her urine for the pregnancy test, she drains her own blood to leave traces of evidence of murder, and fabricates her diary describing her growing fear of Nick. She also has Nick increase her life insurance so it looks like he murdered her for money. By using the clues in a "treasure hunt" game she and Nick play on their anniversary, she ensures he visits places where she has planted incriminating evidence of Nick's guilt for the police to find. She anticipates Nick will be convicted and executed for her murder, and considers committing suicide after his conviction.
Besieged by the media, Nick hires Tanner Bolt, a lawyer who specializes in defending men accused of killing their wives. Nick meets Amy's ex-boyfriend Tommy O'Hara, who says Amy falsely accused him of rape, and gradually deduces Amy's plan. He also approaches another ex-boyfriend, the wealthy Desi Collings, against whom Amy previously filed a restraining order, but Desi refuses to share any details. When Amy's neighbors at the campground rob her of her remaining money, she calls Desi and convinces him that she ran away from Nick because he was abusing her. He agrees to hide her in his lake house, which is equipped with surveillance cameras.
Nick manages to convince his sister, Margo, that he is innocent. After Nick's mistress reveals their affair at a press conference, Nick appears on a talk show to profess his innocence and apologize for his failures as a husband in the hope of luring Amy out of hiding. His performance rekindles Amy's feelings for him, even as Boney arrests him for Amy's murder. Amy inflicts injuries on herself and uses Desi's surveillance cameras to make it appear that Desi kidnapped and raped her. She seduces Desi and kills him during sex by slitting his throat. Covered in Desi's blood, she returns home and names him as her captor and rapist, thereby clearing Nick of suspicion.
When Boney questions Amy about the holes in her story, Amy accuses her of incompetence. The FBI sides with Amy, forcing Boney to back down. Amy tells Nick the truth, saying that the man she watched pleading for her return on TV is the man she wants him to become again. Nick shares this with Boney, Bolt, and Margo, but they have no way to prove Amy's guilt.
Nick intends to leave Amy and expose her lies, but Amy reveals that she's pregnant, having artificially inseminated herself with Nick's sperm, which was stored at a fertility clinic. Nick doubts the child is his and says he'll take a paternity test. He then reacts violently to Amy's insistence that they remain married — yet he feels responsible for the child. Despite Margo's objections, Nick resignedly decides to stay with Amy. The "happy" couple announces on television that they're expecting a child.