Containers abound in Gone Girl, directed by David Fincher and based on the popular novel by Gillian Flynn, who wrote the screenplay. There are envelopes, which hold the clues for the treasure hunt Amy Elliott Dunne (Rosamund Pike) has prepared for her husband Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) to celebrate their fifth anniversary, the very day Amy simply vanishes. There are boxes, storage spaces and locked rooms. And, perhaps most significantly, there’s the cranium.
The movie opens with a close-up of Amy’s golden tresses, and Nick’s voiceover questions what might unspool if he cracked open her skull. That body part will turn out to be the most mysterious receptacle of all. Amy’s blond locks are like literal bolts that prevent any deciphering of how her brain functions. In the film’s more than two-hour run time, we gradually find out just how deeply and sharply her very well organized mental box works.
Gone Girl, which debuted at the New York Film Festival, is nothing if not a diabolical thrill ride about compartmentalization physically, emotionally and, above all, mentally. Amy is a walking billboard for both Mercurially intellectual and archetypally Trickster exercises: diary writing, organizing, lying. As a child, she was immortalized in her parents’ (David Clennon and Lisa Banes) massively successful and lucrative “Amazing Amy” book series, whose heroine managed to excel at endeavors in which the real-life daughter failed miserably. As Nick – who’s no saint – puts it, “Your parents plagiarized” – another Mercurial reference – “your childhood.”
With her identity all but imprisoned in another container – bound sheets of paper – Amy was, not surprisingly, hard to read. Nick finds out to what extent after the seemingly bliss-fueled couple leave New York for the relative hinterlands of Missouri after they both lose their writing jobs. Money from the sale of their Manhattan apartment, owned by Nick’s well-to-do wife, has helped fund a bar for Nick and Margo (Carrie Coon), his twin sister and confidante.
After Amy becomes the media-sensationalized “missing wife,” suspicions mount up hard and fast on Nick, as two cops (Kim Dickens and Patrick Fugit) and a relentless talk show host (Missi Pyle) bear down. A hot shot celebrity lawyer (Tyler Perry) eventually steps in, as does Amy’s former beau (Neil Patrick Harris) who’s still smitten.
Mercury, as the messenger of the gods, guided souls to the river Styx where they would be ferried by Charon to Hades, and Amy lives out this aspect of the Mercurial archetype as well. She is stunningly both ferryman and passenger on a boat of her own making. It’s a jaw-dropping head trip to hell.
Archetype: Diabolical Thinker, Schemer, Avenger
Astrology Archetype: ☿ (Mercury)